This last weekend came and went so fast I cannot even begin to tell you. I was so excited all week and nervous at the same time. We did not know the workouts or the heat times but they were to come. Thursday early evening I received that notification that wakes you up. As I opened the email there they were: THE WORKOUTS. As I read through all 6 off them I began to get really nervous all of the sudden. They were all things I should be moderately good at. That is when the wave of expectation hit me. You see when I go into an event with zero expectation only looking to have fun I generally do really well. However, over the years when I have had a huge level of expectation (self placed) on my shoulders I have performed somewhat erratically. So there it was that big ol expectation bug. Let’s just say that sleep that night was not like all the previous nights.
Friday comes along and this is the day that I generally lay out all my clothes, get all my food prepared and most of the time I play around with the combos of the movements but not this time. I did not play around with the movements at all. I was already sore from Thursday and I decided to take the time to meditate, chill, and visualize what was gonna go down. I also skipped my normal pre-game movie date with myself. I like to do that to take my mind off of everything. I went too bed early and was up and ready to go at 5 am Saturday morning. We were off to the venue to check in.
As we arrived at the venue it was clear that it was a beautiful set up. The view of the bay was magnificent and NorCal Masters had done a phenomenal job being prepared for the day. My first heat was at 10:43 and it was the one event that I was least looking forward to. There was nothing about it that scared me but as an athlete I know that I am on the low to moderate range for pure strength and the event was a strength test. I had zero expectation for this event. I did have a plan with certain numbers I knew I could complete so that I would have a score at the end. In the warmup section we were limited on the weights we had. I had planned to front squat 205 because I knew that I could clean 205 with relative consistency. However, as we stood in the warm up section the bar was loaded with 215 and I decided to see how it felt. I nailed it easy and made an on the spot decision to start at 215 but set the weights to drop to 205 if disaster happened. The event began and I was able to hit 215 for all 3 of the front squat minutes. The next portion was the Thruster and I performed right where I had imagined. The last was shoulder to overhead and I hit the first and second minute relatively easy at the planned weight. So I figured lets go for it and I added 10 pounds to the bar. I failed that attempt but had time to strip the weight and try again. I dropped back to the original weight and missed but I regrouped and hit as time expired. Surprisingly when all was said and done I found myself at 13th. Considering I was simply hoping not to come in last I was super happy of the result.
Next up was event 2 at 12:45 and this was the one event I knew that I was going to crush. YEP Expectation super highway. I had visualized myself crushing it I knew what I wanted to do and I was ready. We lined up for the heat and I was placed right in the middle of the guys who placed 1st and 2nd respectively overall. That actually was cool as I knew that I could keep an eye on them and know how I was faring. Before the event took place I saw that I needed to make sure the dumbbell was off the mat for the double unders or the rope would hit it. I had my strategy and 3,2,1 go we started the DB Snatch with a 55 lb dumbbell. At rep 20 I received a no rep and I was supposed to do the same hand but switched and then quickly switched back. Mess up one. I then finished jumped on the pull up bar and went unbroken for 25 pull ups. Off to the rope. (Insert I am good at Double Unders) I grabbed my rope and 4 x in a row I tripped up? What the heck was happening. It took me a second to figure out I was hitting the dumbbell I forgot to move. I went to move it missed and got the jump rope all tangled on my feet as I ran to the rower because now we hit 2 minutes. At the 2 minute intervals we had to row 150 meters. I banged that out got back to the rope, tripped up one more time then got 30 in a row. Back to the DB which felt heavy now. Mentally I was a mess. I struggled through the snatch, then struggled through the pulls before back to that rope. I got some done but then it was row time and so it went on. To save you all the details I expected to finish in the 7:30-8 range before the fourth row and ended up with a 9:42. Super bummed. As I sat there I remembered Ben Smith say in the “Fittest on Earth” documentary that one of his best skills is the ability to forget and move on. It was at this moment that I had to tell myself the same. Next up was the Vest run.
The Vest run is an event that I should have done well on. I am a fairly good runner, confident in running and running comes down to do you have what it takes to keep going. I call that heart and I like to believe that I have some heart. The way the day was going down it was going to be a quick turnaround. Less than an hour before we were off and running. They called our heat to check in and we all headed over and put on the 20 lb weight vest. I heard a few guys advise us not to put it on too tight so I played with the level until I felt comfortable. On the count of 3,2,1 go we were off. One guy got out to a great start and I wanted to stay as close to him as I could so I broke through the pack and began to follow. Not only was this guy a great athlete he was long and his strides gained a little with every step. I held my own though and soon we were passing the halfway mark. I was still sitting second in the heat at this point. Then we rounded a turn and my new friend Jesse crept pass me. I felty him the whole time and he simply moved ahead. We were still all in a tight little bunch except the leader who was a ways ahead. The building was in sight and we began to pick it up a notch. With about 200 yards to go Will Zerlang passed me and now I was in fourth. I was right on his heels chasing him down but he had a slightly greater kick than I. As we crossed the finish line I had time of 7:21 which was good for fourth in the heat and 7th overall. Not a bad finish at all. I will take it but I for some reason was asking myself why I did not have a little more to give. Where was it. I love to compete, I have a blast competing but the pressure I had placed on myself to compete alongside these guys was crazy. I couldn’t help but continue to think why I am only just good at things? Why am I always the middle of the pack in everything that I like to do. What do I have to do to break passed that. I try it all. I work hard, I meditate, I read, I educate and so on and so forth but for some reason I still wind up this mediocre dude. Spiritually I question God with, “Why would you have me be just mediocre at everything when there are people who don’t care who get to be amazing?” I’m pretty sure I know the answer but maybe not. I ask Buddha why do I find myself so attached to the result? Why after 180 days of meditating daily am I still so interested in external recognition for all that I do. Why can I not remain humble. Quickly I realize that I still have one more event in a few hours but for some reason I am not eager and looking forward to it for the first time in I don’t know how long. The last event of Saturday was the 4 x 2min amrap. This is an event that I should be able to hold my own so long as I play the strategy right.
The 4 x 2 was thew last workout of the day and was a strategic workout as well as work capacity and aerobic threshold. First 2 minutes was a max effort deadlift at 225, then 2 minutes of toes to bar, 2 minutes of shoulder to overhead with 135 and then 2 minutes of Overhead Squats with the barbell only. The strategy came with when you chose to swap the weights. My mistake here was lacking confidence in my toes to bar. I know that I gas out on them but I can generally get 40-50 before that happens. I decided for some reason to spend the time swapping the weights right after the deadlift which cut my time down on the toes to bar by nearly 30+ seconds. All this time I know that shoulder to overhead is one of my biggest weaknesses and was only shooting to get 10 during that time so I could be ready for the oVerhead Squat. Everything went wrong here. I jumped out the gate with 20 reps at 225 deadlift and then started doing uninspired singles. It was not even heavy. I could have done 3-5 at a time easily and I was moving slow. I finished at 37. I realized I should have had a target of 40+ a number that was completely realistic. Then I should have had a target of 40 for Toes to bar because I do better with having a number to strive for. I only ended up doing 31. The sad part about shoulder to overhead is I had a number 10. I hit that number. It was safe and easy. WTF. What was going on. Realizing this high level of underachieving I tried to make up reps on a movement that I still struggle with all the time and did not warm up correctly. I never found a groove. While I hit 24 when I think that 35 would have been a good number to strive for never ever felt comfortable and the result in the end was 102 reps. 18th place. OUCH! That really hurt my chances of cracking the top 10. That was the place that I really failed. The rest of the day was overall pretty good but workout 4 was rough. The good news was it was time to go home for the day, sleep, and come back in the morning with a better attitude.
Sunday morning coffee brewing in the French Press. I was loose and ready to go. I felt good and the 2 events for the day were right up my alley. I felt good about my chances to do really well in them The first of the two once it was time to get going was “Chiefish.” 3 Power Cleans 155 6 ring pushups 9 air squats 8 minute as many reps as possible. When I was warming up the 155 felt a little heavier than it usually feels but still good. I knew that I would not slow on the push ups only slow enough to make sure that I did not get a “no Rep.” They chose to over judge rather than under judge the comp and I liked that even when it hurt. I paced the guy in front of me to make sure that I did not slow down at all and I focused on the task. I felt better about being in my race versus trying to outrun or keep up with others for the first time since workout 1. I did the first 3 -4 rounds touch and go on the cleans and I think I should have gone to singles a little faster but was happy with the way it played out. In the middle of the event I received a few no reps on the air squats. I couldn’t tell if she was saying depth even though I was getting plenty low. After about 4 in a row I looked and said, “what do you need me to do?” They wanted my shoulders to be over my heels at the top. So I made the adjustment and in the videos you can see me looking over at her to make sure they were good and what number I was on. I feel like this slowed me just enough but oh well. In the end I was able to get 11 rounds plus 13 reps. I was 5 reps short of 12 rounds. This was good for a 10th place finish. 5 down and 1 to go. The last one was tricky because it was scored as two events. One that would be a strength and one that would be a weakness. 2 4 minute intervals of rower/burpees and AD/situps. So I had to have a plan.
My plan for the even was to give a good strong effort on the rower and AD to get as many cals as I could without totally killing myself and transition fast and in time to get a full 30 seconds of work on the burpees and sit ups. The way it went was rower :30secs burpees :30 sec x 4 running clock 1 minute rest and the same for AD/situps. So I started out rower hit a good amount of cals hopped of and went for 15 burpees and repeated a good effort of 13,13,12 I think. We rested and did the same on the assault. I was no repped on the sit ups 4 x in the end for my feet popping up but that happens. The no reps cost me one placing so I finished 5th in the burpees sit ups and 16th in the rower/ad effort. In the end I pretty much stayed in 13th place all weekend long with a brief visit to 11th. Its hard because of all my supporters tell me good job. They say that I should be happy and proud of that finish but I wasn’t. I was frustrated. It wasn’t my placing that was frustrating although I did really hope to get in the top 10. It was more that all that I have been working on in the area of meditation, centering myself, running my game not others game seem to fall by the waste side in every event but the run and the strength. I was pretty composed in event 5 also. I realized that “expectation” is an area I am weak. When I have no expectations and just go into something loose wanting to have fun I generally do really well. When I go into something expecting myself to perform at a certain level I tense up. Having numbers and goals is good for me because it helps me stay focused on me but its a fine line because often I don’t have a benchmark for my capabilities.
After all is said and done and I look back on the weekend I am grateful. Grateful for the venue, the new friends, the opportunity to even compete, the volunteers, the supporters, MY TEAMMATES, my family, and more. I am grateful that I am in a community that supports competition for us old folk. I am grateful that I am getting better even when I fail to see it. I am thankful that I am able to look back and realize that I could do a better job with food and recovery between workouts. I can warm up with greater intention. I can tweak a few things here and there on a performance measure. I am doing this again. I will be continuing to strive for more. Im grateful for the moments of failure because they will lead me back to work. I don’t know what it is going to take in my life to unlock the potential I have within. I don’t know what the catalyst will be. I know that it can be hard for me sometimes to be there alone but I also know that is part of what I have to conquer to reach the next level. Overall I am grateful that CROSSFIT has provided me an arena to go have fun amongst a group of like minded individuals. A special thanks to Bill Adams, Forrest Glover and Troy McMoore whom competed alongside me all weekend creating their own memories as well. Last but not least a thank you to Mike Ward for creating 38 Degrees North the place I call home base and a team I am proud to be part of.