This past weekend I competed at The Beast of the East with the Cohesive Unit (the same team that took first place at Flex on the Beach a few weeks back). This was hands down the best competition I have been around at an off season event in my short little CrossFit lifetime. I honestly had no idea that the event was going to be this big. Silly me. Apparently everyone else did. I showed up ready to compete because I filled a team spot last minute. I was completely out of the loop. In getting there and seeing the competition, I was immediately disappointed I did not register to compete as an individual. This would have been a great opportunity to test myself head to head against some of the best girls in the east coast. Buuuuut, rookie mistake I guess (I had a few more of those over the weekend) and I got over it quickly. I got over it as soon as I texted my coach telling him I was pretty pissed I wasn’t competing individually and his response was something like “oh well, just win now.” That put me right back on track and I made up my mind we would end up on the team podium by the end of the weekend. Up to this point I haven’t mentioned how much I love the 3 people on my team – my boyfriend Adam, my immediate coach (and 3 times games athlete) Dan, and his girlfriend and one of my good friends Riki. We work together amazingly (hence the name The Cohesive Unit) and have a ton of fun doing it. It wasn’t very hard to get over my disappointment. The team competition, like the individual one, was chock full of great athletes. Numerous regional athletes and a few games competitors were scattered among teams. I knew a podium finish was in our reach, however, we were going to have to be on our A game from Friday to Sunday.
WORKOUT 1 (Friday afternoon):
AMRAP in 20 minutes:
20 Cal Row
Fat Handle Farmer Carry (45/25)
10 OHS (135/95)
Fat Handle Farmer Carry (45/25)
*women work together and alternate back and forth, same with men*
We finished in 9th in this workout which we were not thrilled about. The boys did very well but stacking up to the other female pairs, Riki and I didn’t do so hot. We didn’t know it then but this would be our worst finish of the weekend by far. After this we simply understood we had to keep chipping away to make it to that podium.
WORKOUT 2 (Friday night):
1RM Fat Bar Thruster
We had 10minutes to establish this 1RM, women were on one bar and men on another. Until that day I actually never cleaned or thrustered a fat bar before. Luckily my hands are huge and the width of the bar didn’t seem to be an issue for me. I ended up completing a rep at 165#. I clean 170# twice and failed on the thruster both times. The boys did great here as well. However, Riki, who struggled earlier in the day with the 95# overhead squats had a great performance in this strength session putting up a 125# fat bar thruster (at 120# bodyweight). We came 5th in this workout, bumping our overall standing to tied for 7th.
WORKOUT 3 (Friday night):
As a team, broken up however you would like:
90 C2B Pullups
90 Ring Dips
90 Ring Dips
90 C2B Pullups
*one male and one female can work at a time*
This one was a ton of fun. Dan may be the best in the world – yes, the WORLD – at these gymnastics movements. Although that was going to be a huge help in our success here, we knew that all four of us would have to pull our own weight if we wanted to move up on that leader board in the hunt for top 3. This workout was FAST. We won our heat by about two whole minutes and captured the attention of the crowd (well mostly Dan did). This was the workout with the highest energy of the weekend and I loved every second of it. It was also awesome to get to test my gymnastics skills, which are not very strong but have been a huge point of emphasis in my programming lately. I was pretty happy with my progress. The cool thing about this is that Riki is a much better gymnast than me and she was able to pick me up where I was lacking in this one. We finished just under 12 minutes which gave us a 3rd place finish. This now put us in a solid 7th place.
WORKOUT 4 (Saturday night):
8RM Back Squat
This was the workout that I keep replaying in my head over and over because it is the one where I feel I under performed – and I hate that feeling. I am not a great squatter, nor a terrible one. 8 reps was such an awkward number that I really had no idea coming in what I would be able to hit. My 1RM last time I tested was 255#. I tested the 8 reps a little it in the gym a the week before but didn’t want to go crazy. I decided to open at 225#. I successfully hit that and then went to 235#. I failed on rep 8 at 235#. REP EIGHT! THE LAST ONE! All I had to do was stand up ONE MORE TIME and I didn’t. Although it was heavy, I’m still not convinced that I was physically unable to stand one more time with that weight. I think doubt crept in for a second, allowed me to lose focus and fail on the last rep. Frustrating signs of being a rookie. Thankfully, my spicy little teammate Ricki hit 185# for 8. About 15#s higher than we thought she would hit. She had my back, thank God. Our boys both completed 385# by 8, however, Adam’s set was negated due to a technicality that would send me on a 6 paragraph rant. So we ended in 5th for that workout. We were pretty frustrated. We didn’t move from 7th.
WORKOUT 5 (Sunday morning):
1min Max Calories on the AirDyne
This one was awesome – yet sucked. Anyone who has ever been on an AD for max effort for a minute could understand that almost always equals puking. Let me also preface this by explaining that we were doing this in THE POURING RAIN at about 8:30am. GOOD MORNING! However, I know my team well, and I know all 4 of us are powerful little f***ers and this was an event we would be able to excel in. It was a pure test of power output. Riki went first and racked up 25 calories. Again, she is about 5 foot and 120lbs. 25 calories is a SICK number for her size and weight. I followed with 32 calories. As far as I know that was good enough for 2nd best on the day among females with one girl in the individual competition recording 33cals. Adam put up a solid 41 (and broke the AD seat – again with the power output) and Daniel put up a 42 (he doesn’t like to lose ever and he made sure he had just enough to beat Adam – lol those silly great athletes). Although we literally couldn’t walk after, I knew we had a solid performance and was pumped to make a big run and finish the day strong. We placed 3rd in that workout, bumping our overall standing to 5th place, one spot out of 4th.
WORKOUT 6 (Sunday afternoon):
*women perform 60 Snatches at 95, men perform 60 snatches at 135 (working at the same time)*
Originally this was suppose to be a handstand walk/lunge/snatch workout, but due to the rain, they revamped it to Team Isabel. I was PUMPED to find this out. This is what we do, this is how we train. We snatch and clean and jerk and up until now, neither had been programmed. I knew we could make some serious moves here. Our boys were excited. This was a great workout for them and we knew they would blow through it. However, Riki has a max snatch of 120# (that’s a body weight snatch for her which is phenomenal). But CrossFit doesnt care about body weight and 95# is still 95#, so we knew it would be a pretty significant load for her. We went in with a game plan of me completing a larger chunk of the reps. It worked perfectly and Riki put on an impressive performance with that load – she was putting sets of 4 together at one point. Our boys finished in about 2:20. Insane. Riki and I were slower, coming in just over 4 minutes. I was so proud of her. We came in 6th in that workout.
1st big moment of suspension on the weekend: Top 5 teams make the finals. We knew we were right on the cusp. WE MAKE THE FINALS. WE ARE SITTING IN 5th AFTER 6 EVENTS by 3 POINTS. I knew it was game time. We were only a few points off podium standing, and the events of the finals workout were worth double.
FINALS WORKOUT (Sunday afternoon):
6 min ME Muscle Ups
-rest 2 min-
6 min ME Deadlifts (225/185)
-rest 2 min-
6 min ME Front Squats (185/115)
-rest 2 min-
6 min ME Clean & Jerks (185/115)
*can accumulate as many reps as possible among entire team*
*each 6 minute segment held its own point value*
*here is the video link, you can actually watch the whole thing. FINALS WORKOUT *
I was glad to see this workout. I know my team can move fast and efficiently and I know we work together well and have smooth transitions which was going to be key here. Dan, again, is one of the best Muscle Uppers in the WORLD. So that always helps a little. The loads, again, were pretty significant for Riki, so I knew I would have to do a little bit more reps in comparison, but she had dealt with significant load beautifully all weekend so I really was not worried.
Muscle Ups: We steamed through muscle ups, I believe we finished in 3rd there. Dan was amazing to watch on the rings as always. Adam impressed me at how much he is actually starting to look somewhat like Dan on the rings. Riki is a stud and held doubles for pretty much the whole time. I felt so smooth and comfortable up there starting with 5s and ending with 3s. Something I have been working on ALOT.
Deadlifts: We know how much of a hit your CNS and posterior chain takes from heavy, high rep deadlifting, so this was a point of concern for us. Dan came up with the great strategy of “clean pulling” instead. This means that one of us grabbed the bar, stood up with it and dropped it. We were all doing singles, eliminating the very taxing eccentric movement of the deadlift. Our transitions were fast and efficient. This strategy right here probably put us on the podium. We finished this event in 2nd, and were hardly gassed.
Front Squats: These next two events was where I felt I really was able to help my team. 115# was a relatively light weight for me compared to the loads my other teammates had to deal with (Riki, Dan, and Adam were all basically squatting body weight). I was able to hold sets of 10 comfortably for my first 4 turns. Again, we were smooth and fast, keeping solid form and moving efficiently. I am not positive of our placing here. But I am pretty sure we won this event.
Clean & Jerks: Similar story here with the front squats. It was a significantly lighter weightload for me than my teammates, so I knew I would have to carry us. I held 5’s for my first three rounds but then had to start breaking them up even more as real fatigue was finally starting to set in. The four of us clean and jerk about 4x a week as part of our programming, so these movements were second nature to us and our movement patterns and technique really never broke. I am not sure how we finished here but I believe it was 2nd or 3rd. I do know that we laid everything on the line though.
2nd big moment of suspension on the weekend: The 5th and 4th place team names were announced. We were not there. We ended the weekend on the podium. We did what we came to do. We went crazy, you actually would have thought we won a national championship the way we celebrated – which I think is pretty funny. I was so proud of my team. We managed to claw our way back from coming into the final day in 7th place to ending in the top 3. If you had any appreciation for the sport of exercise, or for the competition that was there this weekend, you would know how crazy that is. A weekend of getting knocked down early, chipping away, dealing with adversity, failing, succeeding, overcoming, being persistent, shaking things off, WORKING HARD – all paid off in the end. That’s why this exercise thing is so cool. It takes life, mirrors it exactly, and fits it into a 3 day event. I always learn SO much.
Apologies about the length of today’s post, ironically it mirrors the length and amount of energy the weekend took out of me. It is already Thursday and I’m not sure I’m caught up with myself yet. Moving forward I don’t have much lined up. I am going to drown myself in my training – for both the American Open and Regionals – to make myself the best athlete I can be. Next up on my plate is a weightlifting meet on Oct. 19th in Lancaster, PA. This is now the most important event – because it is my next event (my college coach would be really proud I just said that). I am lifting for more experience, a National qualifying total (I need 1 more kilo) as well as a shot at an A session in the American Open. After that, I probably won’t compete again until December. But who really knows, I train for a sport that claims to consist of “the unknown and unknowable” so I’m always up for anything!
(not sure why we didn’t get to stand on those cool boxes 😦 thats always the best part!)
*You can find this post and other posts by my peers and I at: