I competed in the “Battle at the Rock” this past weekend at CrossFit Castle Rock. This was my first solo competition and only my second competition (my first can be read about here).
*Or is the proper name “The Gym, CrossFit Castle Rock”? Can anyone answer? If they can, I assume it is owned by the same company that owns “The Gym, CrossFit Kilo” in Cedar Falls, Iowa? Are there more of these? Did they start out as gyms and then add CrossFit? Finally, are they sponsored by Advocare? The only two CrossFit boxes I have ever seen Advocare so prominently displayed were at Kilo and Castle Rock. So many questions, so little time, someone help!
Leading up to the day of the event I had only one complaint: how late the heat times were announced. I completely and totally understand not releasing the WODs until the night before or maybe two nights before (the WODs for this competition were released on Thursday night), but why they waited on releasing the heat times until late on Friday afternoon/evening was a little confusing. I had people who wanted to come watch me and they were also making their own plans for a Saturday morning or afternoon. They had to wait until after 6pm on Friday to find out when I would be competing and that seems late. Give everyone, even the athletes, a little time to prepare the basic logistics of when they will arrive at the venue, when they need to warmup, etc, a few days ahead of time.
I was planning on getting to Castle Rock early so I could set up a tent, warmup and get ready to WOD until I saw that my first heat time was not until 10:50am. When I read that I totally changed my game plan. I drove down to Castle Rock just after 6am and arrived at Castle Rock just after 6:30 to check-in. After I had checked in and put my name down for the floater WOD I went back home. I didn’t come back to Castle Rock until after 9am.
When I got back at about 9:30am there was activity everywhere. Lots of spectators. The signage for parking was well done and there was plenty of parking available. Castle Rock did a good job working with businesses around them to secure spaces for folks competing or spectating at the competition.
After I had my tent setup it was time to go to the floater WOD and start warming up. The floater WOD was a 210 foot sled push that weighed 135 pounds. They had two tires set up and you pushed the sled around the tires for what was basically one and a half laps. I spent plenty of time loosening up my hips and legs, or so I thought. I did hip swings, plenty of explosive squats (jumping varieties), lunges, ankle, knee and hip circles, butt kicks, you name it. I wanted to be loose. We don’t push or pull many sleds at Crush (where I workout), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done this sort of activity. I lined up, put my hands on the sled and the judge started to count down. The first lap went pretty easy and I felt good. I tried to keep breathing and just keep my legs moving. The worst thing you can do during a sled push or pull is stop and have to get that momentum going again. I wasn’t going to stop. Then came the final push of the sled around the last tire…that was when my brain was telling my legs to not stop and my legs were getting ready to go on strike from the rest of my body. My brain won.
I finished the sled push in 38 seconds. This was good for 27th out of 72 competitors.
When I was done I could REALLY feel my hip flexors and was worried I might not be ready for WOD 1 which I was scheduled to begin in about 15 minutes.
My theory behind scheduling the floater about 20 minutes prior to my first WOD was that I didn’t want to waste energy warming up twice. I figured the sled push would be quick and wouldn’t take much out of me in preparation for WOD 1, but I could really feel my hip flexors.
That wasn’t the mistake I made, however. The mistake I made between the floater and the first WOD was that I drank a recovery protein shake. I don’t think they are very thick; just a scoop in about 15 ounces of water. I wanted to get the calories in before the next WOD. It made me sick.
WOD 1 was three rounds of 10 burpee-plate-to-overhead, 30 foot overhead lung and 15 pullups. You began facing a stack of three 45 pound plates and each burpee consisted of dropping to the plate, touch your chest, stand up and heave the plate overhead and lockout your arms. That was one rep. Little did I realize how much picking up the 45 pound plates would destroy my grip.
I started off strong, real strong. I think in my heat I was the second or third guy to start his second round of lunges and I felt great. Then came that second round of pullups. Between the plates and the pullups my grip started to fail. I think I had to break my 15 pullups into three or four sets which is ridiculous. Then next thing I remember was getting toward the end of the third 30 foot lunge and feeling like I was going to puke. I pushed through it as best as I could and I even did my last five pullups in sets of one. It ended up being a pathetic showing.
I finished in 7:33 or something like that, well ahead of the 10 minute cap, but I think it was 57th out of the 72 competitors (or maybe it was low 60’s?…it was horrid).
After the first WOD I spent quite a bit of time laying on the grass in front of Castle Rock letting the urge to puke subside. It was awful. When I recovered I went to Five Guys for lunch! HA! Take that pukie! As we left the parking lot and drove to Five Guys I had over three hours until my next WOD. I figured that was plenty of time to eat and digest. I had a bacon hamburger (no cheese, no bun, of course) and it tasted great. My legs felt good after I was done with lunch and I was confident I would be ready for the second WOD. But the second WOD was the one I feared most.
WOD 2 was 30 toes to bar, 30 wall balls, 1000m run, 30 deadlifts and 30 box jumps. All standard height/weight (20, 225 and 24) with a 15 minute cap. My goal was to just finish this WOD in the cap. As I was getting closer to going I heard of quite a few guys who did not finish and then I heard of one guy who finished in 9:21. 9:21 is sick.
I decided to do the toes to bar in three sets of 10, no problem. I went all out on the wall balls and did them unbroken, even with two no-reps. The 1000m run wasn’t bad until the last few hundred meters was all uphill. Then came the deadlifts. Unfortunately 225 is a bit heavy for me (my max is 325 currently). My goal was sets of 5 and I held pretty close to that until I got over 20. Then I think it went 4, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1 to finish. At this point I am gassed and my legs are shot. When I came in from the run the clock said eight minutes, I believe, and some odd seconds and I figured I would finish under the cap no problem. I vaguely recall hearing people yelling at me to finish – my cheering section – but otherwise it is a blur. I suck at box jumps and wouldn’t anyone who weights 210 pounds? I tried to just jump up and step down, take a step back and rinse and repeat. I was heaving. Then I realized that a few of the guys from my heat were around me cheering me on and that is when I realized I had like five box jumps left and about 30 seconds. I kept moving and barely finished under the 15 minute cap.
I completed WOD 2 in 14:55 and that was good for 50something out of 72. I think there was like 15-20 guys who didn’t finish. I’ll call it a success.
After WOD 2 Castle Rock re-seeded the heats so the leaders would go last and here is my only major complaint with the event. First, let me say that it was run really well except for this. Athlete check-in was smooth and the heat times were almost right on time the entire day. There was plenty of room to warmup and they even had free snacks and water in the athlete warmup area. The floor where the WODs occurred were clearly marked and only once or twice did spectators get in the way of athletes coming/going from the workout floor. With all of that being said the organization of the final WOD was bad. It took them a real long time, or what seemed like a real long time, to get the results after the first two WODs and the floater posted and the new heat times posted. The final WOD had a three minute cap so it was going to go quick and the guys in the first heat only had about 10 minutes to warmup. This was all about 90 minutes after my last WOD, maybe two hours, and I had about 15 minutes to get ready for my heat. Not enough time, if you ask me.
Thankfully the final WOD was in my wheelhouse – clean and jerks. I didn’t have much energy left and since I wasn’t anywhere near the top of the leader board my caring had fallen off some, too. I did take some time to get the blood going and worked up to a somewhat heavy clean and jerk to make the 135 pound weight in the WOD feel a little lighter.
The final WOD was “Grace” plus double-unders in the remaining time. Grace is 30 clean and jerks at 135 pounds and if you could complete that in less than three minutes the remainder of the time would be spent doing double-unders. The score was 30 (if you finished Grace) plus however many double-unders you could complete. My PR on Grace was 2:47. I figured I could finish and squeeze in a few double-unders.
I killed it – I set a PR on my Grace time by completing in 2:35 and if I didn’t suck so much at double-unders I could have gotten more than eight. Still, 38 reps was good enough for 20th out of 72 competitors, my best results. There was one guy who scored 103. 103?! He nailed 73 double-unders after doing Grace? That’s just silly.
I believe I finished 42nd out of 72 guys and I will take it. It was my first competition and I know I could have done much better on WOD 1. Had I just skipped out on the shake prior to the WOD and I guess I need to work on my grip….I know I could have done better. WOD 2 I think I did as good as I can do, but WOD 1 I could have improved and finished better overall.
I am hooked. I have another comp with three members from my gym in about two weeks, but I am definitely going to be doing more solo comps.