The following is part 4 of a 4 part series, talking about what I got to be a part of May 19-May 22 at the CrossFit Games Atlantic Regionals in Atlanta, GA. It was my first year competing. I learned A LOT and had a whole lot of fun in the process.

Today was all about finishing well and handstand walking. 

Here’s the thing.. I really hate being upside down – more specifically, being upside down without a wall to hold alllll my weight up. I’ve tried everything possible to avoid handstand walks since I started CrossFit. Once I got an invite to Regionals, I assumed they would be in one of the events, so I started practicing them. I couldn’t even kick up into a handstand without collapsing and almost breaking my neck (you think I’m exaggerating….) While some people can adapt, learn new skills, and look like a pro after a lot of practice, that wasn’t the case for me. I was in the gym practicing them 5-6 days a week – most of the time leaving frustrated (and with a tweaked right shoulder). My coaches and friends were patient with me, and I sought a little bit of help from my friend Jackie who coaches little kids gymnastics. I prayed that I would be able to do them.

And here I was, Sunday morning, about to have to walk 100 feet (in 10 feet increments unbroken) on my hands in front of thousands of people…alongside girls who wouldn’t have a problem with the 100 feet. See, 100 feet really is nothing. I get that. And I was thankful it was only 100 feet. My biggest fear was to keep making it 7 or 8 or 9 feet, and then falling, and having to go back to the previous 10 foot marker. And I promise…one of the main reasons I cared so much was because I actually love burpees, and I wanted to be able to do all my burpees, which would come a good bit after the handstand walk.  

So, I woke up (in our handicap suite), pulled my clothes out of my bag for day 3, put the same socks on that I wore the previous two days (I’m going to buy some new socks at some point today). I read, stretched, packed, Dan checked us out of the hotel, and we headed to the GWCC. 

I got taped again by Airrosti (again- I love them so much. They taped me up everyday, which I think helped my shoulder, and somewhat helped my back not be so rounded. I met up with Colin, and we found a random conference room in the GWCC so I could practice. We figured out how to turn the lights on with the control board, found some paper cups to mark off feet, and acted like we owned the GWCC (Sorry GWCC). By the end of the 20 or so minutes, I was knocking them out. They were slow (obviously) but I was getting them. 

So, I finished warming up. Practiced some overhead squats – built up to 155 lb.(It didn’t feel that bad because my shoulders weren’t fried.. yet). Today I was going to be in Heat #2. So I moved up a heat at least! I was pretty happy with that. As we were waiting in the corral to go out for Event 5, Dave Castro walked by and gave me a fist bump. His shirt said “Give a Shit.” I liked it. It reminded me to care so much about hitting these 10 ft increments, that I would be willing to dive for each line if I had to – no matter how ridiculous it looked. 

 Still smiling because I'm still here. 

Still smiling because I’m still here. 

 

This event started with a 1 km assault bike ride – not bad at all…under 2 minutes at a steady pace. I got off the bike, and led the pack of girls jogging down the floor to start that handstand walk. I immediately went into it, and fell. My judge looked at me weird, and I just shrugged my shoulders and gave him the typical “I dunno? – Alison shrug”

The next 5-6 minutes were pretty brutal. I had to full out dive for a couple of those 10 foot lines. My judge was so confused. I told him that this was actually the best I had ever done.  I wasn’t even 20 feet in when most of the girls finished their 100 feet. This is weird, and I don’t really get emotional over stuff (unless I’m tired) but every time I looked up, I could see all my friends, especially Daniel, standing up and cheering so hard for me. It made me tear up a little bit. As I got close to the end, there was one girl to my left with her 155# and there was a rower to my right. I thought that I was either going to fall into her and take out her and her 155 lb. barbell out, or I was going to fall literally on top of the rower. But I didn’t.

 

As bad as I sucked at those handstand walks (in front of allllll those people), it was one of the highlights of my weekend. I didn’t give up, and if I wouldn’t have (barely) qualified for Regionals, I still wouldn’t be able to walk on my hands at all. But today I walked 100 feet unbroken. In all reality, I probably walked about 200 feet on my hands, but I had to keep going back to the previous line because I fell in the middle of it. I dove for the line a couple of times. I busted my face, and have a minimal black eye now. 

 

Then came the overhead squats. I don’t have much to say about those except that I need to work on them. I got held up on them, and I struggleddddddd… I wish I could have made it to the burpees, but I the time cap went off as I was about to finish the 500 meter row sprint. No excuses on that. I really wish I could have done some burpees. Oh well. Next year. 

 Photo by  BucketHead.Media

Photo by BucketHead.Media

 

After the event, I cooled down, stretched, ate some food, and walked around and saw some of the vendors with Daniel. I bought a progenex tank that I love, and I bought some cool camo socks from Barbell Cartel. The guys were so nice, they gave me a hat and some of their white competition shorts that they just released.

I ate some lunch, stretched, and warmed back up. By this time, my body was so worn out from the weekend. I’m still trying to figure out why since I practiced ALL these workouts the past two weekends, and I never felt this bad. My shoulder wasn’t feeling so hot (probably from diving to those 10 ft lines in the handstand walks… so my bad). But I had 1 event left, and I wanted to make sure I finished well. 

The last event was thrusters and legless rope climbs. I love thrusters, but I’ve hated legless rope climbs. The climb isn’t so bad.. it’s just the whole touching the target and holding on to the rope for dear life with one hand and no legs. I have this thing where I get scared and grab the rope with my legs. One day (hopefully sooner than later) I’m going to think, “Remember when I used to grab the rope with my thighs, giving myself the WORST ropeburn?” 

I went out in Heat 2. My judge reminded me of the standard before we started. He also told me to make sure my thighs didn’t touch the rope at all as I pulled myself up it. I told him I would try but I said, “Have you seen these thighs? They’re probably going to touch. But they won’t help me. I promise.” He laughed (agreeing with me probs). 

I think I was the first one in my heat to finish my 21 thrusters, but probably one of the last ones to jump on the rope. I went up, touched the target, came back down. One rep. Then, I did the same thing again, except this time I did the whole grab the rope with my thighs before bringing my hand down, and I got no repped. And then I did the same thing again. And then, after that, I couldn’t even make it all the way back up the 15 foot rope. Being only a 6 minute workout, I didn’t have much time. But I got to watch girls around me run down their lanes to the finish line while I was still on my set of 3 rope climbs. I was bummed. Like really bummed. Not the way I wanted to finish, for sure. 

After it was over, we went straight to the Vortex with our friends for a burger, fries, and a beer. I had ice cream from QT when we got back to Anderson – and they even put extra reese pieces in it for me. We then came back home and had a HUGE surprise from our friend Shawn Hanna. This is just a small picture of all the great things he (and Cat) did to our house. 

 

 

 

Here are a few takeaways: 

-I made it to the end. That’s something that I don’t take for granted. I met the minimum requirement for each workout (except the last one I suppose, but that’s ok because I still got to do it). A lot of girls around the world can’t say that. 

-I finished at 30th out of 40 girls (all from the best of the best of the Southeast and the Mid Atlantic regions). I was ranked 38th going in. 6 weeks before this weekend, I didn’t even see myself here. I only got to go because of a large handful of girls who decided to go with a team to regionals. 

-I can say that I gave 100%. 

-I set goals for this, and I busted my ass to meet them. 

-I’m going to make sure my own standards in my movements are way better, which I know will make me a better coach in the long run too. 

-I tried to talk to, smile, and love as many people as I could while I was there. 

-I got to see realllly up close how special the CrossFit community is. 

-It was made evident several times that I had the biggest support there. And I did. And they cheered their hearts out for me despite me not being a superstar or anything. That’s true love, and I’m so thankful for CFEC. I love them so much, and I’ll never forget that. 

-Staff, volunteers, and judges kept telling me how much they appreciated me always keeping my head up no matter what and for smiling all the time. My hope was that people saw that although I’m not perfect, there’s something different about me that can only be explained by Jesus in me. 

** Maybe this makes me not as much of a competitor, and I DO LOVE TO COMPETE AND BEAT PEOPLE WHEN I CAN, BUT I would much rather be known for the 2 above realizations than top 5 or 10, or even 20 any day. 

I’m going to work hard to get back next year, with bigger goals, better movements, and a bigger drive to compete. 

Thank y’all for reading this, and thank you for loving and supporting me along the way. 

 This is one of my favorite photos ever. It doesn't do justice to the struggle this has been for me. I've fought through it, and I can now (somewhat) walk on my hands. Photo:  BucketHead.Media

This is one of my favorite photos ever. It doesn’t do justice to the struggle this has been for me. I’ve fought through it, and I can now (somewhat) walk on my hands. Photo: BucketHead.Media

 I'm thankful for all of these wonderful people + more who didn't make the picture + more who watched at home and texted me/called me.

I’m thankful for all of these wonderful people + more who didn’t make the picture + more who watched at home and texted me/called me.

 Can't even put into words how thankful I am for these people. 

Can’t even put into words how thankful I am for these people. 

 The only couple of pictures we got all weekend have my hand in my face. I can't remember why. But I'm thanful for Daniel for believing in me more than anyone else, including myself- for putting up with me and for loving me through this weekend. 

The only couple of pictures we got all weekend have my hand in my face. I can’t remember why. But I’m thanful for Daniel for believing in me more than anyone else, including myself- for putting up with me and for loving me through this weekend. 

 COACH - for being a great coach and for giving up your weekend(s) to help me get better. 

COACH – for being a great coach and for giving up your weekend(s) to help me get better. 

 For all the volunteers that make the CrossFit Games great. Brandy checked me in for every event and was always really cool and nice. 

For all the volunteers that make the CrossFit Games great. Brandy checked me in for every event and was always really cool and nice. 

 Thanks for being my friend, even though I was mean to you Seth. 

Thanks for being my friend, even though I was mean to you Seth. 

 Sienna! Thanks for coming to watch me. I think you're pretty great.

Sienna! Thanks for coming to watch me. I think you’re pretty great.

Click here for Part 1. 

Click here for Part 2.  

Click here for Part 3.