Friday, March 19, 2010

Central South Texas Sectionals – or The Mental Games We Play

This past Wednesday I took on “Murph” – a marathon of a Crossfit workout. The workout consists of a 1-mile run followed by 100 pullups, 200 pushups and 300 air squats followed by a 1-mile run… all while wearing a 20# weighted vest. At the goading of a training partner, I decided to up the ante and wear a 30# vest (Go Hard or Go Home!)

The workout took me 1 hour, 1 minute and 30 seconds, and I finished all but crumpled on the ground in the fetal position. But never, not once in the workout, did I even contemplate or entertain the idea that I would not finish the workout.

Since I started crossfitting in October of ’08, this has been the MO: finish the WOD. I have been through lots of extremely difficult training (3 a days in the hot and humid Florida summers anyone?) and plenty of grueling crossfit WODs, but never have I ever tapped out or given up. I pride myself on my mental toughness (I might not always be the best, but I will work harder than anyone…) and take great satisfaction in destroying my body.

This was not the case last weekend, when I competed in the CSTS at the Camp Mabry military base, here in Austin, TX. I finished a very respectful and humbling 23rd out of 135 men, considering the amazing collection of athletes that showed up to compete.

The first two WOD’s were difficult and challenging, both physically and mentally – but the third and final workout was arguably the greatest test of mental strength I have ever taken on. The workout was as follows:

15 barbell thrusters @115# :: run 100 ft :: 50 one-arm kettlebell snatches @ 24kg :: run 100 ft :: 100 double-unders :: run 100 ft :: 50 kettlebell swings @ 24kg :: 100 ft farmer’s walk with kettlebell :: 15 barbell snatches @ 115#.

I was moving through the WOD nicely and thinking I would finish with a good time until I got to the last 15 reps: 15 snatches with 115#.

I made it to the bar, dropped my kettlebell, set my feet and got ready for the first of fifteen snatches… I made my move and the bar made it about 1/3 way up my body when… nothing. I dropped the bar and bent over to catch my breath. My body was screaming and I was sucking wind. I had felt this before, and knew if I just focused, I would make it happen. I set up and went for rep one again… the bar got to my chest where it rested. The judge yelled out “NO REP!” I let the bar fall – angry and frustrated.

What followed were the hardest fifteen reps of any workout… ever. It took me somewhere in the vicinity of 7 minutes to finish the workout (I finished with a total time of 15:44). 7 minutes for 15 reps. This was the first time I had ever actually thought “I am not going to finish this workout.” I still don’t know how I did…

There was literally a battle being waged inside my head: one side saying I could not finish, the other side telling me I had to. Once again the angels won out over the demons, and it was not without two valuable lessons being learned.

Lesson 1: I must win the war before I step onto the field of battle (both physically and mentally).

Lesson 2: I am powerful beyond measure.

Congratulations to all those who competed and the 30 men and 30 women who are moving on to compete at regionals in Ft. Worth May 28-30. I am grateful for being able to compete and having prevailed victorious, and my heartfelt thanks go out to all those who made it possible. My goal? Compete at the 2010 CrossFit Games.

Next stop: FT WORTH!

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