Monday, May 10, 2010
Katie on: The CrossFit Central East Regionals
The one that got away... I was very close to finishing this Chipper wod... I just couldn't get through the swings fast enough to get back to the box jumps...
When I wrote my recap on the DC/VA/WVA sectionals, I was riding high after a great weekend. I loved the wods that they pulled out for our sectional, aside from the weighted Cindy, and I felt like Maggie and Jeff literally ran a flawless competition. The wods were running like clock work, they provided a relaxation space with water and nutrition bars, and I felt that for the most part, standards were upheld. Were there mistakes made, absolutely. When dealing with humans, you will have a certain percentage of human error. But overall, I thought they did a great job.
Not to mention, with the sectional being so close to us, CFOT took a huge amount of competitors. With such a large team there, not to mention our supporters, it was a terrific environment to compete in. There was so much support from everyone that I literally felt loved doing the sectional. It was well organized, well thought out, and I really felt that they did a good job. There was definitely a lot of stress for me leading up to the competition, especially the late release of the wods, but I still enjoyed it once things got moving. I really had a great experience with the sectionals.
This past weekend though, I can't say I had that same feel good experience with the Central East Regional. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people feel the same way I do. Somewhere between sectionals and regionals for me, this stopped being fun. I think that there were a combination of factors involved in that change, but the fact still remains that lately, I haven't been enjoying CF. The sectional for us was so taxing that it literally took me nearly 4 weeks to recover. It was brutal. That left only about 2 weeks until the regional. I cut it a bit close and to then turn around and do everything all over again simply wasn't fun for me. I love CF and everything it has given me and done for me, but this experience is not one that I enjoyed.
Aside from the fact that I was burnt out, I saw a lot of issues at our regional. Our regional was held outside in May, in a Mid- Atlantic state. I understand that the average temperature for states like Ohio and PA is close to 70 at about this time of year. However, that's the average. And one thing that people did not take into account I don't think is that weather in the Mid-Atlantic states in April/May is EXTREMELY finicky. I lived in PA for 23 years, trust me on this. It snows in April sometimes! Getting back on track though, they decided to host an outdoor event, but one which provided no shelter for any of the athletes. Why? I understand that some will say that as CF'ers we should be prepared for anything. Ok, I'll give you that. True. But the Ohio sectional was AT THE ARNOLD. How did we go from such an awesome venue, to the middle of nowhere without any type of shelter or protection for athletes? That alone made things very hard on everyone. Friday was 80 degrees, Saturday was 50 with 40 MPH wind gusts and cloud cover. Imagine trying to do a muscle up in that. Yeah guys, I get it. Ready for anything, but let's be honest. I think there is probably a venue that would have been a better choice for this and would have allowed everyone to have a much better experience. I understand that part of the reason this was chosen had to do with the large hill and trail run. I understand that logic, but I think more than JUST the wods needs to be taken into account for something like this.
The weather of course was one thing that bothered me about this experience, but the wods in general bothered me a bit. I understand the first wod. They wanted that to be a seperator. That makes perfect sense. What I didn't get was WOD #3, the max deadlift. I didn't think that a max deadlift was a great choice. I feel like that is nothing but strength. Why not choose a max snatch or max OHS? Those are more complex than a deadlift, and I feel they would be a more accurate reflection of someone's ability to master the different domains. I understand that you want a metcon vs. strength component, but there has got to be a better way to do that. Max efforts are fun to watch, and I think making them a part of the games is exciting. However, I think there is probably another lift that is a little bit better than a max DL. While I did pull a PR of #300 lbs in the competition and did very well in that wod, I still feel like there could have been something out there that would have been a better choice. Furthermore, I didn't understand the idea of putting the deadlift before a long chipper. I guess they were thinking you need to fight through, but putting KB swings after a max deadlift didn't seem like a good idea. I know that it f'ed my back up, so I'm wondering if it did anyone else? I know I was one of only a handful to DNF that chipper wod, so obviously others fought through, but from a training/programming standpoint, that seems very dangerous to me.
In addition, from an athlete's perspective, it appeared that our region was very disorganized. The odd release (in the comments section of a post) of the standards video, and the lack of a release of an affiliate standards video seemed very off to me. Further, the late heat release of the individuals also made it appear that the organizers didn't have everything together. Perhaps Maggie and Jeff did such a great job with the sectionals that anyone would look disorganized by comparison, I don't know. But from an athlete standpoint, it appeared that our region wasn't well organized. Maybe they really were and it just came off that way, but from a competitor standpoint, I was very frustrated. I understand that putting on something of this magnitude is hard, but when you assume that responsibility, I think you need to make sure that you are making things user friendly, and that you are dotting your i's and crossing your t's. It just didn't seem like our region did that in all areas. Saturday was cold and miserable and as soon as we were done, we left. We were never told via email or online what time to arrive the next day or what heats would be. It just made things more uncertain than they needed to be.
What was especially bothersome to me though was the failure on the part of the region staff to think through their scoring system for the first wod. The region announced that they would allow people to sub the first WOD with the understanding that anyone who didn't complete the MU's could not advance to the games. Got it. That makes perfect sense. But what was not explained was how they would score anyone who didn't do the MU's. Now, I understand that some people may say, "Well if you're not completing the wod and you can't advance, what does it matter?", well in reality, in the grand scheme of the advancement, it doesn't. But I still trained and I want to do well, so it should be fair. So, what was not known in advance was that if you spent the whole time on muscle ups, you would place higher than anyone who did the sub. And if you just started at the sub because you knew you didn't have any muscle ups, then you couldn't score higher than someone who literally stood there for 15 minutes and just jumped on the rings. I also know for a fact that there was a girl who did jumping ring dips (and they weren't even actually dips), who scored higher than I did in the standings because she completed more reps. WTF? I don't understand how that worked, AT ALL. Regardless of whether or not I'm going to move to the finals for the games, I want things to be scored fairly and I want my final standing to be an accurate reflection of how I did. Did I do very well? Ha, no but regions managed to pull out EVERYTHING I suck at... so truthfully should I be much higher? No, not really. But should it still be fair? ABSOFREAKINLUTELY. And I know if it wasn't fair for me, then it also wasn't fair for other folks.
I know that it sounds like I'm complaining and that nothing good came out of this weekend, but that's not true. There were plenty of good parts. I competed, period, the end. That in and of itself is great. I had some really great judges to help me through. (Thank you volunteers!) I deadlifted a PR by 25 lbs and hit 300. That's awesome. I spent some time with amazingly fit people and had a terrific time with great teammates. I, a shitty shitty runner, completed a trail run that was uphill. I didn't do it very fast, or beat many people, but I did it! Holy determination Batman! Those parts of the experience were great. But on the flipside, I'm an athlete who is very frustrated. I did train, amidst an INSANE schedule, and I was just bothered by what I saw. It left a sour taste in my mouth, and just made me question whether or not this is something I want to do again. I know competition isn't for everyone, and maybe I'm one of those people who it's not good for. I don't know. I have a lot to ponder (and work on) before next year rolls around.
Having said that though, I'm incredibly proud of myself for the effort I did put forth this weekend, and I'm proud of myself for fighting through things that are most definitely not my strengths. Funny but true, deadlifts are my weakest lift, I suck at running, can't do muscle ups, and the only thing I'm really good at that they pulled out were cleans! So, for a girl who sucks at everything they pulled, I did really well. My only real disappointment came from that last wod. My back was so tight from the deadlifts that I couldn't move through the KB swings in the chipper. It was in knots and hurt immensely. I'm still having trouble bending and moving, and I don't want to even ATTEMPT to pick up or carry anything right now.
So, what does this rambling bunch of mish mash mean? Well, it means that I'm not real thrilled with the region as a whole, but I'm glad I did the event. I know that they did do a lot of work, but I wish that it just would have been done a little differently. We are most definitely sending our top athletes to the games though, and there is no doubt about that. Those women were freaking phoenomenal! Regardless though of what all the other women did, I'm proud of myself because I've proved that I can grit through a lot of really shitty stuff, and that deadlift wod proved that I am strong enough to compete with the girls in this region. I did learn however that I'm just not fast enough or good enough at gymnastics to compete with them all around. So, I'm taking away these lessons and hopefully will learn from them as I continue with CF. It's time to start having fun again, and while I learned a lot and am proud of myself, I'm glad that it's over and done. Bring on a rest week, and then some good old fashioned CFOT wods..... :)
If you'd like to see my deadlift (and the awesome PR's of my two other teammates) click here....