Whattttt upppp?? I started to skip out and not write anything today, and take a nap instead. But the neighbor’s dog won’t quit barking …again, so I figured, why not?!
You’re probably tired of hearing about Granite Games by now too. I feel like I was there forever. So, sorry if you are. You can just skip this post!
I’m so thankful for the time I had in Minnesota! Can we talk about how great their weather is right now? (Except at 10 am before the sun is shining and you have to swim!) I realize that most people (or at least CrossFitters) would give anything to be able to be there (in any division), so I don’t take it for granted, and I’m thankful for the experience because you never know when it may be your last! I qualified for the second year in a row for the Women’s Individual Pro. There were 36 girls total this year! I ended up at 10th place overall, and I’m really happy with that!
To be 100% honest, one of my goals was: don’t get last. There’s nothing wrong with last place, especially in a big, stacked competition like this. And someone has to do it! I would know because that was ya girl last year. Last year, I left Minnesota feeling a little defeated. So this year, my goal was to be able to show myself that despite a not perfect year with surgery, the hard work still paid off! No pressure.
I had my achilles fully repaired (again) less than a month after GG last year. I knew for awhile that something wasn’t right with it, and was told that I needed a full year to recover. Makes sense. The surgeon cut out what scar tissue was left of my old one, took some tendon from my big toe, and repaired it. He had me back walking with a boot in a couple weeks, but trying to find my groove hasnt been easy. But if you know me, you know that I was right back out there working out when I could. I went through as much PT as my insurance would let me (unfortunately it wasn’t a lot, but I did what I could on my own in the gym).
Over the past year, I’ve worked really hard, while still having a fun, normal life- sometimes a little too much fun probably, but yolo. I’ve taken on a little more responsibility at the gym and I’ve continued to fall more in love with coaching. I’ve worked on what I’m not good at (same as you I assume, if you’re reading this) – All of this not to qualify for anything, but just because I love it! I’ve tried to do better with what I was fueling myself with, and more importantly for me, how much I was eating! (Thanks to Katelyn Marando for that).
I still doubt myself a lot, so the thought did creep into my mind of..”what if I go to GG and I can’t hang…again?
I surprised myself, for sure. I learned a lot, and I had a lot of fun Here are the biggest takeaways!!:
- Being able to compete in the first place. I can confidently say for me, this is a *gift* from God, and while it doesn’t define who I am, competing allows me to use the gifts He has given me and learn some interesting things about myself in the process!
- One day you’re up. The next day you’re down. Isn’t that how CrossFit goes? One day you’re feeling great about the workout. You’re like, “Ok, I crushed that. I’m a boss.” And the next day you’re like “Oh, snap, am I even fit?” Not every day is going to be rainbows, and unicorns, and sunshine, and snow cones. But isn’t that why we always keep coming back for more? We show up to be challenged. Humility hurts sometimes, but it’s how we grow and get better! I had some GREAT events and I had some NOT GREAT events. Like totally flopped. And that’s ok. I know there are a lot of things I need to work on! And I’m going to keep grinding as long as I have the opportunity.
- I am so thankful for the ladies I got to compete alongside. I’ve never been to a big competition like that where everyone was so friendly, a little nervous, and just really chill. We laughed a lot. We bonded after that first day. Like last year, I travelled to Minnesota by myself, which kinda sucks. Last year, I’m pretty sure I was talking to myself by the time it was over. This year, I loved hanging out with the girls. There were probably 5 or 6 moms in the group. One girl, April, HAS 4 KIDS!!! And she is a badass. I met a girl named Kelly who has an almost 2 year old named Josiah (love that name). She competed in the GAMES on a team last month THAT SOON AFTER HAVING A BABY! So inspiring. And I liked hearing Lindsey Valenzuela talk about having a baby in the sport and how hard she has fought to get back to where she’s at now, while still trying to stay on top of everything else she has going on. Strong moms out there are goals for sure. I got to hang out with Nikki and Jadzia – 2 of the raddest Canadians you’ll ever meet. EH. They’re like little ninjas, and they even brought me an oreo bar to eat after we were done competing. There was also a girl named Kat who is so tiny, but FREAKING STRONG. She stayed on the floor after her heat for every workout and cheered me on (and coached me at the same time!) I really appreciated it, and I know big things are on the horizon for her. I could keep going about every single girl, but I’ll stop there.
- Speaking of competition though, I loved being able to share the floor, and even compete literally right next to some of my favorite athletes (who have been around for a long time and have accomplished so much in this sport!) All of these ladies are so talented, so I have the upmost respect for them. I loved talking to them about coaching and their gyms too. Amanda Goodman is a freak (in the best kind of way). Colleen Fotsch is the strongest girl I’ve ever competed with. I should have just stopped snatching and watched her. Carleen Matthews’ story and what she has overcome is pretty amazing. She is really kind, and doesn’t take herself so seriously. And like I already said, Lindsey Valenzuela is pretty incredible. I could keep going about every single person, but I’ll stop right there!
- ADAPTING! — out of everything I need to work out, this is numba 1. 2/3 workouts that I didn’t do so hot in were all about how you handle a curveball. There was a little bit of athleticism involved too, and you know how that goes! But it was all about being able to adapt on the fly. I’m not the quickest learner, so trying to figure out new things is frustrating for me at times. This is one of the BIGGEST OPPORTUNITIES to utilize outside of the gym. I shared this on instagram the other day, so I don’t want to bore you with it again.. but long story short.. how do we adapt, or change, or maintain a positive attitude when curveballs are thrown at us, or things don’t go as planned? Or we have to learn a new skill or new way of doing something?
- The volunteers! SO INSPIRING! This competition is HUGE, so it takes hundreds of people to make it run smoothly. Mad respect in the leadership from the top —> down. I can’t ever clearly fathom how someone would want to give up their weekend so I can workout and utilize the gifts I’ve been given. There was one volunteer in particular. Her name is Gina (hopefully I spelled that right). She’s lost over 100 lb. She walked us from the staging area to the arena we worked out in. Having convos with volunteers always helps me stay focused and reflect as to why I love CrossFit so much in the first place. Each person has a unique story!
- Last, the SUPPORT! I am blown away by all of the support I received from SO MANY PEOPLE while I was there. I never expected that. It’s a great problem to have when a couple hours of each night was spent thanking people and writing people back. That meant so much to me, and still continues to make me emotional even thinking about it. I’ll save those messages forever. Thank you to people from other gyms and thank you to everyone at CROSSFIT ELECTRIC CITY for showing me once again, why CFEC is the best – because of the crazy, wonderful, strong, inspiring people in it. You probably already knew that. But I can’t thank you enough for it.
DAY BY DAY BREAKDOWN!
I got there Wednesday morning (SUPER EARLY) so I went exploring before I had to check in and get ready for our dinner. I saw some of the girls from the year before, and met some new people at dinner. Everyone was already really nice, and we were trying to make each other feel a little better about the swim – which turned into a somewhat TRI (swim 800 m + row 5K/4K + Run 5K).
One of the girls, Andrea Swenson, even brought me a wetsuit to borrow! Saved my life. I would have never thought I could say this, but I think I was 8th out of the water! It helped that everyone spread out a little, and it was like having your own lane. I’ve been working so hard on swimming, so I’m proud of that – considering last year I was one of THE LAST ones to finish that 400 m swim and I never even put my face in the water! This year was way different. The wetsuit probably helped me from sinking too. I stayed steady on the 4K row. If I’m rowing more than a 2K, it helps me to stay focused by hitting 5-7 hard pulls and then back off for 5-7 pulls. IDK if that’s right or effective, but it keeps my head in it! I paced but pushed, and was off the rower right under 16 min. I took off for the run, and my legs were JELLO! I would have mentally checked on in the past, but something came over me, and pushed me through that run. My pace got quicker as I went, and I was somehow able to pass 4 people – which is not like me! This past April (just six months ago), I had a little moment where I felt bad for myself because I timed a mile for the first time since before I had surgery. I was bummed with being a whole :45 sec off of my best, and my right leg just wouldn’t work the way it was supposed to. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to run without pain again. But I’ve worked on running A LOT (not like just casually running for exercise, but mornings at the track by myself, or running up a mountain with some friends). And I’ve gradually improved! I finished 4th in that event – a personal redemption for me – as last year, I was almost last on the trail run.
Next, we ran up the same hill as last year. Ya know, the one at the ski park?!? This time, the workout was 50 GHDSU, 30 wreckbag cleans (our weight was 50 lb, so not too bad.. just don’t stop!) and run up the hill with the bag. I was almost last in the hill sprint last year too, so I knew I needed to redeem myself on this one too! I took off with what little jog I could do. I decided to just jog until my body stopped itself (which didn’t take long 🙂 It turned into almost like a tabata, but like move with long strides for 20 sec, jog(ish?) for 10 sec anddddd repeat! I almost fell back towards the top of the hill, but I heard people cheering, and that kept me going for sure. I crossed the finish line and died a little (in a good way)… not like last year! I really think nutrition and eating a good bit of food after the tri helped with that. In the past, I would have barely had any food. Food = Fuel.
So, without sounding too lame, I finished Day 1 of the Granite Games in first place. I know there was no barbell, not any gymnastics movement, or any movement for that matter that required a lot of skill, but I can still say that I am proud of that!
That night, John Swanson (director of GG) put on a HUGE roundtable event with a lot of really cool, influential people in our sport – with the goal to raise money for NEGU (a foundation that helps children and families battling with childhood cancer. I wish I could have heard from everyone. I geek out over getting to learn in stuff like this. Well, I ended up staying at my girl, Brooke Ence’s table, and she’s even more of a badass in person. I appreciate how real, kind, confident, and hilarious she is. Jason Khalipa was the keynote speaker, and I have mad respect for him. I can’t wait to read his book – As Many Reps as Possible
We got a text overnight saying we could come try out the O Course that morning. I knew I had 30 min left to practice, so I legitimately woke up, rolled over, put a sports bra on, and went to practice, because I was a little unsure to say the least! I’m not much of an athlete when it comes to these things. We usually just laugh it off, but I needed to be serious here. I was so happy I could do ALL OF IT no problem, UNTIL they changed it up for us and threw this annoying, thick, red rope right in the middle of the rings. We couldn’t practice it. We just had to go out there and do it. Well, turns out, I was actually was pretty horrible at grabbing said rope. It was so hard and slick to grab (that’s what she said). There was a 5 min cap, and let’s see, I think it took me 3 min to figure it out! (and there was still a lot more of the course to go!) Once I did, I was good. It just took me a little longer than others. It’s a bummer to see girls coming back and almost finishing while you’re still at the beginning. It sucks being the only girl left on the field, but I appreciated all the support and cheers when I finally got it!
It pumped me up to redeem myself that night. The workout was a descending (in reps) ladder of 95 lb thrusters and 200 meter sprints on the assault runner in between. Barf, right? I practiced this at CFEC, but without the assault runner, which does make a big difference BTW. I gave it my all, wanted to take a break or stop all together, but I mentally pushed harder, and ended up in 3rd. Unfortunately, I still can’t push off of my right leg like I would like, so my left leg had to do all the work. If your running gait is off, that machine will let you know! Shoutout to the medical vols for helping me feel better after that!
Ok, third day in a row competing, and my body is starting to feel it! – or at least feel those 60+ heavyish thrusters. We had a 1RM snatch, and although I knew it wouldn’t be my best event of the weekend, I was pretty pumped about having an opportunity to PR. Competitions are great for that. I feel like I did everything right leading up to it. I ate a lot of food, I didn’t go super heavy warming up, but just kept it fast (for me). I tried to keep my head focused warming up. I visualized myself hitting big weights. Andddddd….I went out there and flopped. Like for real. I went out there and didn’t even know which lane I was supposed to be in. We had 6 min to build to one rep, and I hadn’t lifted in like 30 min or so, so I started with 125 lb just to hit one with the 45’s on there, and then I was going to build from there. Well…..I missed it (whoops), and from there I wasn’t able to pull it back together. When I got to 150, I dropped it on my back (YES, MY BACK. YES, I’m OK) FOUR TIMES! Like..literally threw the barbell over my head, missed the catch, and caught it on my back. FOUR TIMES. I had some pretty $hitty (<—for lack of a better word) thoughts run through my head. I finally hit it, and then ended up at 155 lb. For me, that number isn’t worst case scenario, but I was hoping for a little higher. I was so mad because it was ALL MENTAL. I basically just melted down out there. I mean, I didn’t cry or anything out there, but in my head I was so mad at myself.
Later that afternoon, we had a workout that looked fun on paper – 4 rounds of 10 Bar Muscle ups + 40 double unders with this drag rope from Rx Smart Gear + 16 alternating 1 arm dumbbell squat snatches at 50 lb. We couldn’t try the rope until we went out there. I was like, oh no prob. It’s probably just a heavy rope. I’ll be great. Well, we take the floor and I couldn’t figure it out. In front of everyone. Yet again. While it seemed like everyone else in my heat made it look doable. I looked like I had never done double unders before in my life. I was so embarassed, to be real with you. My poor judge had to count like 1,2,or 3 reps at a time. And before that I started doing regular single unders with it. He prob thought I was trying to trick him, but he was smarter than that! It was a disaster. Once I finally somewhat got them (see, I always eventually figure it out!) I was so tired that I could barely pick up my dumbbell, let alone do a bar muscle up. I have never wanted a workout to end so bad since 2016 Regionals when we had to do strict ring muscle ups, and I kept getting no repped. I never want workouts to end, but I wanted that one to end… for real. Once again, I’m blown away by the girls (my competitors) who stood on the other side of the floor and not only cheered for me, but tried to coach me through it! – Especially Kat Grillo. I’ll never forget that!
Day 3 wasn’t the best day by far, but I learned the most about myself that day!
Day 4 – LAST DAY. BEST DAY. (Or that’s what they say)
We started in the stadium bright and early. The first workout was a 200 yd (split in 50 yd increments) wreckbag drag. We had 100 lb in each hand. This is one of those workouts where you just gotta go! Who wants it more? Who’s legs are still somewhat functioning? I put my head down and tried to stay consistent. No skill. Just grind. I think I got 5th in that workout, which was a GREAT WAY TO BOUNCE BACK FROM THE DAY BEFORE!
We then had the 3-3-1 workout with the assault bike + TTB buy in and 60 shoulders to overhead with a 100 lb axle bar. I went a little too hard in the first round and died for the remainder of the workout. Haha… RIP me! I did way worse than when I practiced coming off of a rest day. I also still struggle with toes to bar, so there’s that. Someone help me be able to arch my back more.
THE FINAL was a two part workout – with 2 full scores, which is a big deal! The first part was a 40 ft handstand walk + 20 ring muscle ups + 40 foot handstand walk. I think we all surprised ourselves with how horrible those muscle ups would feel! I didn’t set my mat up right, and my feet kept kicking it. I let a dumb mistake throw me off. I also haven’t been practicing enough on longer ring straps (although those always get me in competitions). I fell on my face going into the handstand walk on the way back. So, ya know, I just laughed that off! I finished right before the time cap. We rested a minute and started part two with a one arm overhead lunge (50 lb dumbbells) + 20 hang squat cleans (50 lb dumbbells). It turns out hang squat cleans with 50 lb dumbbells in each hand is challenging. I FEEL LIKE I GAVE IT MY ALL IN THAT WORKOUT THOUGH, WHICH IS A GREAT WAY TO END A 4 DAY LONG COMPETITION!
Whoa thats a lot of typing! Thanks for reading (if you made it this far!) Thanks, again, for all the support! It meant so much to me! Gottaaaaa GO!