CrossFit Festivus Games 2014 Wrap Up

Back in March I wrote about why I signed up to do the Crossfit Festivus Games as an Intermediate (i.e. the highest level you can compete). And now I have completed my goal of finishing dead last. So why don’t I feel better about it?

I came into this knowing that it would be some stiff competition. Basically, anyone who isn’t an Olympic Gold Medalist can qualify themselves as an Intermediate and no one is going to stop them. Sure, a good amount of the competitors were perfectly appropriate, Crossfitting for maybe a year or two. But for the most part these ladies came from a background of championship rowing or college rugby. They were almost all under 30. I am pretty sure none of them had children. And they most likely did not spend their childhoods sitting on a bench eating cake.

But let’s just dive right in to game day:

WOD #1: Two minutes of max wall balls (#14). (One Min Rest) Two minutes of max double unders. (One Min Rest) Two minutes of max burpees:

I was glad to get this one over with first because it was the one that could make or break me. The wall balls and burpees were probably going to be the same for most people across the board – it was all about the double unders. I have finally gotten fairly good at consecutive double unders, but they are always hit or miss. I have had great streaks of almost 30, and other days when I can barely string together two. This time I did about average for me – 40 in two minutes. My total was 91 and that put me at 35/39 competitors. I was pleased.

Faster than a speeding bullet..
Faster than a speeding bullet.

WOD #2&3: Row 1000 meters for time and then do max weight Clean:

I was completely unconcerned about the row because when I did Festivus in 2012 as a beginner I had to row 2K. It was a nightmare, but at 9:43 I placed in the middle of the pack. A 1K row under those circumstances could have potentially been 4:20. But it wasn’t. It was 4:38. Which I didn’t think sounded so bad, until I saw that it was among the lowest scores on a national level. 

On to the clean. So, this is where it really gets sticky for me. From the beginning I have only attended technical “CrossFit” classes about once per week. The rest of the time I am doing the “Intensity” program, which is cardio-heavy and includes most of the CrossFit movements but does not use barbells. So I hadn’t really had a ton of experience cleaning weight (which basically means bringing it from the ground to a racked position on the shoulders in one swift movement). So this is where I spent the majority of my practice for this event.

I remember about six months ago when I didn’t think I could clean 65 pounds and the head trainer yelled at me to just do it. And I did. But that was where I left off. So since learning of this event I had about two months to increase the weight significantly. And with a lot of help and practice I was able to reach 90 pounds before game day. That sounds like a lot – and believe me, it is. (If you are a dude reading this and you don’t lift weights regularly, I challenge you to go walk into a gym and try it. Not really though because you will definitely hurt your back without training). But the ladies here at Festivus were warming up with 135 pounds. I managed to make just barely make my 90 pound clean which stuck me, once again, at the bottom of the barrel (perspective, Paige, perspective).

WOD #4: 8 Minutes AMPAP (As Many Reps as Possible) 10 Kettlebell Swings/20 sit-ups/30 boxovers

This was my jam. Over the past few months I made 16KG kettlebell swings my bitch and sit-ups have always been my best friend. As for box overs, well, in my last post I described this made-up movement to the athletic equivalent of vacuuming. Let’s add to that being spun around in a circle 30 times and then vacuuming. Because really it is just an exercise in equilibrium, of which I have not much. But it was enough for me to place 35/39 again – and I am not entirely sure how anyone could go much faster without tripping over their own feet.

My bell is bigger than hers.

When I first signed up for this competition I wasn’t even sure I should be competing at the Intermediate level. I only even met three of the six general qualifying factors. So my goal was simply to finish with the full expectation of coming in dead last.

So I think it was the false hope of doing better than others in half of the workouts that made me really want the glory of “not being last.” Kind of like that scene in Silver Linings Playbook when they are stoked to get a 5.0 in the dance contest.


But there is a silver lining. I took a look at the national scores, and guess what? I’m not last! In fact, I am 919 out of 933. And five of those women actually showed up for all of the workouts!

I know, I know. None of that should matter. I am better, faster, and stronger than I ever imagined I would be when I started this craziness two and a half years ago. And I went through a pregnancy and childbirth. I should be really proud.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see a warrior. I have birthed two children and now I can do a pull-up! But sometimes I also feel like this sad middle-aged woman the trainers take pity on. I don’t want to feel like “Rudy” finally allowed to score a touchdown (or whatever, I never actually saw that movie). I am too Type-A for my own good and want to be the best at everything. (Except for driving. I am entirely at peace with being a really bad driver).

I’m not sure what it will take to make me feel “good enough” in the fitness world. We monitor the “likes” on our gym selfies and feel quietly superior in a world of couch sitters. But we also know, to steal a phrase from another blogger, fitness has become the new mid-life crises. Marathons are the new 5Ks. Triathlons are the new marathons. Why do one pull-up when you could do 100? What is your excuse?

Articles are being written toting childbirth as the new “performance enhancement drug.” So clearly I should be at my peak!

But the only thing I can do is keep plugging ahead, day after day. Bigger. Better. Faster. Stronger. And back for Festivus again in 2015.

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