When I drank the CrossFit Kool-Ad in November 2014, I thought, “No way will I ever do a competition. That’s for hardcore rocked up athletes. I just want to see results.” I had the same attitude when I started running; I wasn’t interested in doing races, and now I’ve done well over a 100 of them.
As the months passed, I’ve pondered my progress in CrossFit, and reconsidered competing. After all, a competition is a way to test your fitness and skills. Girls Gone RX is an all-women’s CrossFit competition series. “Compete for a cure” is their slogan, as they donate proceeds to breast cancer charities. They host events across the country, inviting women from the area boxes to sign up and fundraise.
The box that I train at was hosting the event, and I looked at the banner on the wall every day, bummed that I wasn’t signed up. I wanted to do it, but couldn’t round up anyone to join me; it’s a 3-person team event. I wrote it off completely. I told myself, “I’m not a competitor anyways.”
Friday before the event, a friend posted on Facebook that she needed someone to replace her on her team. I watched her post all day, and no one responded. I finally built up enough courage to engage in her post, and before I knew it, I was officially signed up to compete the day before the event. I felt unprepared, but I did have a moment to at least look up the three workouts that we would be doing.
With some competitions, you don’t know what the WOD will be, but you know you are signed up. Normal preparation includes your improved performance and focus on your nutrition. You would typically schedule rest and recovery a few days before, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I had to hope that my daily training and last-minute preparations were enough.
The morning of the competition, I met my teammates in the parking lot for the first time. Both far more experienced than myself, I think they were a little disappointed that I was so green to CrossFit competitions. However, I was there and they could compete with a full team. I was glad to have some cool, calm veterans there to encourage me and answer my questions.
Workout #1: Deadlifts
Your team could choose to go heavy and get more points per rep, or go lighter and crank out more reps. The goal was to accumulate more points. I’ve done deadlifts, but I haven’t done fast repetitions before.
Workout #2: Pullups, Thrusters 55#, Power Cleans 95#, Burpees, Kettlebell Swings, Box jumps
We would work at each station for 1:15, rotating between teammates. I did pullups for the first time in a WOD at this competition. No, I wasn’t as fast as the girls doing butterfly pullups, but I only got a “no rep” once and jumped right back up.
I skipped doing the cleans. I just learned how to do cleans a couple weeks before, but hadn’t done them at the 95 pound weight requirement. With my form progressing, the required weight seemed heavy and certainly increased my anxiety. My teammates were rockstars and knocked them out between the two of them.
I did overhead kettlebell swings for the first time (actually went out to the parking lot before and practiced since I hadn’t done them before). I got turned around on the box jumps once and slowed down the group for a couple seconds.
Workout #3: Rowing and Front Squats
I row regularly at my gym and usually finish just behind the guys so I knew that I could row. I’m fairly strong on front squats, and I wasn’t worried about the 85# weight requirement. I did wonder how jumping off a rower onto a bar with weight would turn out with my legs feeling like jello.
I didn’t quit and walk away, and I didn’t fail miserably. I left the event feeling very inspired and will be working hard until my next competition. I was competing in a room filled with incredibly strong, fit, beautiful women – a pretty amazing first experience for me.
Things I learned from my first CrossFit competition:
• You will be surrounded by more fit people than you ever could imagine; take your typical class at your gym and multiply it tenfold. I was in awe of the muscle definition in the room. I have seen a lot of shorty shorts at races, but the legs at this event were impressive.
• Everyone is there for the same reason. Although it is a competition, there is so much love and support in one room. Coaches and athletes from other boxes will encourage you and give you tips.
• Train and prepare. I don’t recommend just jumping in without really knowing what to expect; I’ve been at this a while. I have the “don’t wait for the perfect time” mindset, because once you start waiting, you can always find conditions that cause you not to do it.
• Every time you take a risk, you learn something and you build your confidence in yourself.
With CrossFit competitions, just like races, my goal is to have fun! Many times, I was the girl wringing her hands in between workouts, but you can’t worry about everyone else’s performance or how well you place against them; you can only control yourself. Enjoy the experience and learn about who you are as an athlete. Enjoy meeting other athletes and coaches. Sure it’s a competition, but it’s also a celebration of your fitness and your life.
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