Last weekend was the annual Industrial Athletic open which I was invited to after placing 1st in NZ for the CrossFit Open (still pumped about that). This competition usually draws the best crossfitters in the country and is two days of intense and challenging workouts. Going into the weekend I knew there were a few top dogs not competing but CrossFit Games athlete Kevin Manuel and another Regionals athlete – Michael Gillum were competing so nothing was going come easy.
After arriving in Auckland around midday Friday I started to feel the effects of a cold that was coming all week long. It hit me pretty hard but I figured if I loaded up on vitamin C and got plenty of sleep I’d be fine. After having a solid daytime nap I dragged myself through the aisles of Pak ‘n Save to get some snacks for the next two days. I planed on have a spa before bed but could not be bothered so lay in bed watching a movie until I fell asleep. And it was a crappy, restless sleep at that.
Saturday – Day 1
I woke up early from my alarm, knowing we had to check in at 8:30am. I could’ve used more sleep but my mind is always going nuts on competition day so that wasn’t really an option. I grabbed a banana and a museli bar and washed it down with a Red Bull. I usually don’t each much in the morning and I don’t want to change anything during competition.
We arrived at the ASB showgrounds a little late, as usual, and sat around for 20mins before being taken through into the Fitness Expo down in the back corner where we would be competing. It’s always a pretty intimate setup, 12m x 12m with a rig down the back and the rest was open space and big stands for spectators on the opposite end. We were taken through the athlete area in the back and onto the competition floor to be brief on the 3 events we would be doing today. Strict Deficit Handstand Push Ups, Farmers Carry, a barbell complex with ascending weight, Rope Climbs, Heavy Push Jerk and Lunges. Sweet!
Men were up first and I was in the last heat. It’s always a benefit being last so you can see what the other guys get and figure out a good gameplan. I don’t do big warm ups so as soon as the 3rd heat went out I stretched for a few minutes and did about 3 strict handstand push ups so I knew I hadn’t forgotten how to do them. The first event always makes me most nervous but mostly just to get started.
Event 1: I went out hot and was racing Kev, if I could stay with him I’d be fine. First round went well. Then we got back to the HSPUs and I broke the set of 8 (5+3), Kev went unbroken. I spent the rest of the event hoping he would slow somewhere but he’s way to strong and didn’t break any of his HSPUs. 2nd Overall.
Straight after we finished my arms we so pumped from the farmers carry (2x48kg Kettlebells) and everyone was flossing their forearms because of the rope climbs we had at the end of the day. I made sure to have a little NuZest protein from the samples we were given and started chugging water to flush out the lactic acid. I felt good after the little battle with Kev and 2nd wasn’t so bad. Next up was a Deadlift-Hang Clean-Front Squat complex and the last round was 1 rep at 130kg. It was going to be fast again. I warmed up a little more with this to make sure my nervous system was firing and the weight didn’t feel heavy when I got out there.
Event 2: This started even quicker and from the first round I was now racing Gillie who is super powerful with a barbell. I knew he could hang power clean the last weight and I couldn’t so I had to get there first. I messed up the first rep by hang squat cleaning it instead of power cleaning but forgot about it pretty quickly. Singles from the start and I just focused on not stepping away from the bar, I knew I’d get rest when I was changing the weight. The first weight change was smooth and I got out in front so I pushed that pace through the 100kg, and 110kg rounds. At the 120kg round I was feeling the effects of going so hard and resorted to squat cleaning which wasn’t part of the plan. But it was only 2 reps. Loading up the bar at 130kg for the last rep I was in front and sure I had won. I deadlifted the bar. It felt heavy. I shot under the bar for a squat clean and caught it. I paused at the bottom and tried to grind my way out but I lost the bar forward and knew that was it. I stepped back and watched Gillie and Grayson finish their last rep. Looking to my right I saw Kev about to do his last rep so I stepped up to the bar and had another go. I couldn’t even catch the clean. After Kev crossed the line I decided to walk back a few metres, chalk my hands, get my head straight, and have one more go. The deadlift still felt heavy by I ripped on the bar as hard as I could in the hang clean and bounced out of the hole hard. Coming up felt so slow and I was mashing potatoes at this point but I didn’t care, one more squat and I was done. My legs felt like that were useless in that last squat but I managed to get up and finish the workout, I never checked my placing because I was so disappointed. I knew it wasn’t good.
After that event my morale was down, my back was sore, and my energy was dropping quickly. I found out not long before the last event of the day that Kev pulled out because of a knee injury. Good in a way that it helps my placing but I love the challenge of competing against a guy like Kev so I was gutted. The last event was Rope climbs, Shoulder to overhead and lunges. With my height and reach rope climbs would not be great but I thought I could make it up on the bar.
Event 3: Gillie and Grayson went out real fast and I was behind after the first 5 rope climbs but I expected that. I got to the barbell and tried to push jerk and felt an electric shock down my right arm. An annoying little injury that popped up in the last few weeks on anything heavy overhead. I ended up push pressing for the rest of the workout and breaking up each set of 7 reps (I know… it’s only 7!). In the 3rd and final round I caught up to Grayson a little but Gillie was gone and I felt drained. I had no fight to push ahead of Grayson and I came last in that heat. Again, I didn’t even want to know what I came in the end, I just wanted to get home and sleep.
I finished day one in 4th equal with Jodi Gardiner who had an awesome first day and ended up doing really well through day 2. I was quite a few points out of first place (Gillie) and knew the only thing I could do was win both events tomorrow and hope he slipped up. After Burger Burger for dinner, Ben and Jerry’s for dessert (I had sorbet, I don’t actually like ice cream that much), and a spa back at the hotel, I got to sleep early so I could be prepared for whatever we had to do tomorrow.
We didn’t have to get up quite as early this time so I had a good sleep in. Emma and I took our time as we went out for breakfast and cruised over the competition venue. And…. we were late! We missed the briefing and asked around, what are the workouts? what did we miss? what are the movement standards?
The workouts today were pretty straight forward: a chipper with the assault bike, some heavy thrusters and lots of gymnastics, then the final workout which was 30 snatches (Isabel for those that don’t know) and a heavy sled push then pull. I love chippers and snatches so I was excited. Plus I was feeling a lot better than yesterday so all I could think about was “Win Everything!”.
Event 4: I got to see all the girls heats and the 3 guy’s heats prior to me so I had a gameplan. Sets of 10 on the chest to bars and toes 2 bar, sets of 5 on the thrusters, and don’t stop moving! I was first off the assault bike, then first off the chest to bars. I made the idiot mistake of trying to jump on the assault bike from behind it and got my shorts caught which left a huge rip down the front ‘crotch’ area. I spent the rest of the workout thinking about how much people could see. The thrusters felt heavy but I hit a big set to start then worked away at them in sets of 5. Toes to bar felt really good even with the brand new slippery rig. The assault bike felt like death every time I got back on it. The burpees were slow but as I finished up I realised I might have enough time to finish the workout – the only one for the whole day. I did my first 10 cals on the bike at “I’m trying not to die” pace then stood up and pumped out the next 10 cals. Going to the 10 bar muscle ups I had just under a minute so it was gonna be tight. I jumped up and nearly slipped on my first rep then proceeded to hit 6 more before coming down. 20 seconds to go. I jumped up again and saw my judge holding up 2 fingers meaning 2 reps left. That meant I would only do 9 in total but I didn’t have time to argue. I hit the last to reps and ran across the floor to finish with 2 seconds on the clock! 1st Place, one down, one to go.
I tried to fuel up properly before the last event because we had hours between them. When it was coming close to the girls starting their heats I was getting tired. I went for a walk around the Fitness Expo because I knew there would be all sorts of pre-workout samples I could try and get some free caffeine. I went to 3 different places and tried their bright red, orange, and blue drinks out of there tiny cups. It seemed to do enough to wake me up.
Event 5: The last workout of the day and the competition. It’s always fun because after that it’s all over and for many people it means nothing. But for me I wanted to win to even have a chance of taking 1st place overall, I needed to beat Gillie by 4 spots. We all took off to start our first 10 snatches and I went unbroken. The next 10 a broke into 5 & 5. The last 10 I went right down to singles because the lactic acid was taking over my body. Grayson was first off the snatches, followed by Gillie. I was 1 or 2 reps behind but the sled hard made a big difference in other heats. Those two took their time getting started so I got low, put my head down and pumped my legs. The sled moved so well I was a little shocked. That put me back in the lead as I ran back to pull the sled back and finish the event. Gillie was doing bigger pulls but I was too far ahead and when I ran across the line he was only seconds behind. Another event win but with Gillie right behind me in 2nd it wouldn’t be enough.
As we waited to find out our results they brought out all the athletes and starting announcing the Top 3 females. Emma was in 3rd equal but the countback rules meant she came 4th so didn’t podium. That sucked! When they announced the 3rd place male – Jodi Gardiner I basically knew I was in 2nd, Gillie 1st.
It was an awesome event to be part of and the competition was tough with some next athletes coming in and showing some good skills. I really liked the simplicity of the workouts which meant you could just go hard and make it hurt more.
Time to reflect on my performance and see what weaknesses I need to work on.