Heyyyyyy! Here I am, 10 days or so after the Mayhem Classic… finally telling you alllll about how great it was. I guess I’m not much of a blogger these days. My attention has been going in other directions, I suppose. So, that is my excuse for just now getting to it. Take it or leave it.
So, I’ve actually sat down and tried to write (type) this a couple of different times. But then I was like, “nahhh. I’m not ready.” But I guess it’s time to face my reality (or something like that, I suppose).
So many people supported me – before and after this competition. I’ve had all the questions and comments and messages, and every little bit of support has meant the world to me. So, I definitely wanted to give y’all an update. But before I do that, HEADS UP.. this post is LONG. I am sorry. If you want the good/learning experience stuff, go to the last 1/3 of it.
But before I get into all of that…The Mayhem Classic was by far the coolest, dopest, most fun competition I’ve ever done. Yeah, the location was great. I mean, CrossFit Mayhem? CrossFit heaven. So many people would love for the opportunity to just get to workout there. Also, it was a plus that it was a good 4 hours and 50 minutes away from my house. So, I was able to drive myself and so many of my belongings there (even my weighted blanket, which has been a game changer in helping me fall asleep, by the way). Shoutout to Calm Blanket. Daniel was able to be there. Colin came. Even Emerson came. Steven came. We all shared the cutest AirBnB. So, if you’re ever in Cookeville. Check that one out, only after checking out Sisters Cottage. I’ve stayed there before too. Both are adorable. Sisters Cottage is more in the downtown area than the one we stayed in this time, so you get to really see how cute Cookeville really is, and be close to all the good, local restaurants.
Anyway.. other people from back home were able to come too. Amy and Carrie were there. They kept me laughing and fueled on gummy bears all weekend. Ryan and Lindsey were there. Lindsey braided my hair, which is always necessary. And my friends from college – Chris and Leigh were there. So, the whole being close to home thing worked out well.
But what really made the competition so awesome was THE PEOPLE. I got to meet so many incredible, sweet, generous, FUN people. I have not met a single person at Mayhem who isn’t kind AND fun. You won’t find a lot of people who are both. I have some friends who have moved to Cookeville over the past couple of years – Jacqui and her family, then Ashley and Matt, and it’s great to see all of them loving life in Tennessee, as I’m sure moving to a new place and a new gym in your 30’s – where you don’t know anyone – can be scary.
The competition was a smaller one – in that it was just about 30 guys and 30 girls competing individually. One guys division. One girls division. There were no teams or anything like that. I actually really liked this feel because everyone got to talk and get to know each other. It was great to catch up with the handful of girls I’ve competed with in the past, and it was equally as awesome to meet new girls – especially because a good bit of them were girls that I really look up to in this sport.
I coached Thursday morning, and then took my time getting to Cookeville that day. I went straight to the gym to check in. They told us they would be outfitting us in Reebok. I assumed ya know, like a couple of sports bras, some tights, and maybe a pair of shorts. I know the competition really isn’t about this, and I’ve ya know, never been to the actually CrossFit Games and been outfitted in all the reebok, so this comparison may be a little off.. but in my opinion, they made us feel like we were at the CrossFit Games. We got jerseys with our names on them, trail running shoes, new nanos, etc. etc. etc. It all barely fit in this huge Reebok bag they gave us. We were fitted for our rucks that we would be using the next morning. We got headshots. We had an athlete dinner. It was all so nice, and I can tell they really put a lot of thought into it.
So, Friday morning came.. I barely slept – mostly because I was nervous, and also because I was in an airbnb by myself (everyone was coming Fri afternoon) and either the wind was ripping, or someone was outside trying to get in. I still don’t know. Usually when I wake up, I either eat my breakfast on the way to the gym at 4:45 on the way to coach. Or if I’m not coaching first thing, I make it right away and eat it ASAP. Basically, ya girl loves breakfast first thing. But today, I made about double what I usually eat and I was just staring at it because I was like, “oh, ok here comes the vom.” I didn’t throw up though (yet) don’t worry. And I managed to eat my breakfast (which was later partially thrown up on the trail we ran on, probably somewhere near Rich’s bison.
We left the gym in a few church busses to get briefed and ready to go at some alternative school. There was a fire station right there too. That’s all I remember. I saw Haley Adams, and got her to tell me for the second time that if I could run up Mt Esja in Iceland, I could do this. To me though, this was equally tough (for the record). We were sent out in heats of 10 or so (randomly done). When they told us that the night before, I’m not kidding you, glory to God, I prayed that I would be in Tia’s heat. And I was. This was not because she is amazing and I thought that would be ya know, so kewl! It was because I read her book and got to hear about how great of a runner she is, and let’s be real, she beats the guys at the Games in running events, so I knew that if I were in her heat, I could keep up with her. NO I’M JUST KIDDING. JUST KIDDING. That would be a mistake. BUT I did know that if I could just keep her in eye sight for as long as possible, I would probably do well at this! It was tough to know where you were at in the race because of the heats. But I freaking loved that. It helped me get out of my own head and just run my race. I only had to run this thing with 9 other girls – not 29. And I could at least see Tia for about half the race, so I felt good about that. Two girls in my heat pushed me so hard – Amanda Hardeman and a sweet girl named Veera, who has got to be the fittest girl in Finland. She was so fast…and such a nice person. We started off on flat pasture and ran through big uphill batches of woods, and then we would come back out and run through more pasture. And then we were checked at about 1.3 miles in… It was about 13-15 min of that 1.3 miles, so there was a good bit of uphill mountain climbing in there. I knew I wanted to push that first part because it was an event in itself. And in true Alison fashion, I about died after that. I tried so hard to hang on. I pushed myself on the flatter parts and tried to run fast (or fast for how I was feeling). I was on my hands basically bear crawling through a lot of the mountain. The 20 lb ruck wasn’t horrible BUT if you know me, you know I hate to workout with pants on (true story – long pants to clarify)…. and sleeves. And I could feel myself getting pretty uncomfortable. I was burning up. And dizzy. And I kept thinking I would fall back and roll back down the mountain at any point now. They had number markers, which was super helpful! I think they went to 48, or something like that. So, I almost lost it when we were at like marker 40 (I’m thinking we have to be at least 4 miles in) and one of the volunteers said we were halfway to the finish line. My mind almost got the best of me. I wanted to quit. But instead, I just threw up and kept going. I have never thrown up in a workout – ever. I almost did after 16.5 (burpees and thrusters back in 2016.. but it’s only because I ate so much cauli rice right before the workout, which is one of the worst things to eat before a workout BTW). Anyway, I JUST KEPT tRUCKING ALONG and not long after that (not 4 miles later) some angels appeared and said that I was almost to Senior’s barn (where the race finished). I saw my friend, Ashley Sweet there right at the finish line. She was volunteering. I cried. I also felt like I was on fire.
It was a gnarly race/ruck/run/climb. Here’s a better view of it.
We hung out and waited around for everyone to finish. It took a little while, and my phone was still back at the school. I had no idea how I did. My phone, meanwhile blew up from people texting and calling to say they saw the results. I got 4th in the first part, and 5th overall. It took me awhile to actually believe it, but I was really happy with that.
By the time we were back at the gym and briefed for the next day, it was around 2 pm. I got some FOOD. We were done for the day, which was really nice. I met up with some friends that night. Daniel, Colin, and Em got there that night.
Ok, SATURDAY! Saturday was a lot of fun! It started off so shaky with those DB squat snatches. Butttt… it got better as the day went on. And then it got GREAT.
Event 3 was for time.
100 foot handstand walk. 18 DB Squat snatches 100/70.100 foot handstand walk. 14 DB squat snatches at IDK the guys weight/75 lb. 100 foot handstand walk. 10 DB snatches IDK the guys weights/80 lb. You read those weights correctly. They announced this workout a few days before, so I practiced it. It took me right under 15 minutes to do it (time cap was 12 min). I had never done a DB SQUAT snatch with anything over 70 lb, but I felt much better about it after practicing it. I also did my HS walks in sets of unbroken 50 feet because I had a feeling they would make us do 50 feet unbroken each time. I was right. Honestly, going into this workout, I was more worried about hitting my handstand walks unbroken under pressure and fatigue. I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT I DID GET ALL 50 FEET UNBROKEN EACH TIME I ATTEMPTED (6 times, because i didn’t make it to the last 100 feet). This is coming from the girl who legitimately took 8 minutes to go 100 feet, in sets of 10 unbroken feet three years ago at regionals. So, I was proud that I did that. However, the depth in my DB snatches was a train wreck. Or at least my judge thought so. When I practiced this, I recorded myself, and every one of my reps was low enough. At the comp, IDK if the trail run just got me more than I thought, or if something was just off with me (that happens sometimes 🙂 but I got more no reps than I got reps. And every one of my 20 something no reps was because of lack of depth. So, that sucked. I will say that every single one of my reps felt the same, so I’m not sure why some counted and some didn’t. Anyway, I am always working on that, and I will continue to! I never once got frustrated. You would have thought I had a ton of CBD oil or something right before because I was so chill. I guess I am proud of that!
Next was the chipper. I LOVED this workout! Burpee box get overs to a 48 inch box make me feel like a true athlete. And I have a love/hate relationship with the assault bike. I do think it paid to be a little taller in this workout for those reasons. I also LOVE GHD Situps. These GHDs were a little different though. I didn’t realize how tired I would be on the second set of them. I was NOT proud of my bar muscle ups. Guys – I have been working so hard on them. Some days I am like flying! I can go all day. Other days, I can’t get my shoulders open or my hips up to the bar to save my life. Those 25 BMU shoudn’t have been a problem, but after everything else, I was pretty slow. Anyway, after the BMU, you worked your way back down to the GHD’s, bike, and then 25 more burpee box get overs. I loved being in this workout with Fee Saghafi. She is SO fast and she can GO! I also loved being side by side with my friend, Paige. She unfortunately busted up her ankle in the trail run, so she wasn’t 100% on this. But she still got out there and did the workout anyway. I knew that had to be so humbling because I’ve competed with her a couple of times before, and this is the kind of workout she would crush. She still hung though, despite her ankle. Super impressive.
The last workout of the day (Event 5) was my FAVORITE of the whole weekend. That opinion is probably not the popular one as this workout HURT so bad. But that is why I loved it. It was short(er) which I usually don’t prefer. I knew going into it that with the 8 minute time cap, the worst that could happen would be just 8 minutes of pain. I could do that. It was a 150 foot (in three 50 foot sections) of a walking lunge. Girls had two 50 lb DBs (heavier than you would think). We then had 30 sandbag cleans 150 lb for guys and 100 lb for girls. The good news is I’ve been following Mayhem’s programing so closely since I knew I was going to be here. I had really been working that 150 lb sandbag since they program a lot at that weight. So, when I saw 100 lb, I was like ahhh ok, easier than I practiced. They announced this workout the day before I left, so I practiced a little with our 100 lb Dball (we don’t have a 100 lb sandbag, only my 150 lb one). Colin showed me a new way to clean it that really just was me not even trying to get it to my hips, but just RDL to the shoulders. I felt good about it. After the 30 cleans, there was another 150 foot lunge with the DBs. Those lunges obviously felt way heavier than the first set. I could see the time and knew I would finish, but I really didn’t want to put them down. Buttttttt…. I did. Just for like 5 sec though. My girl, Fee was close behind me, which is impressive because my legs are a little longer than her’s 🙂 IT FELT SO GOOD TO CROSS THAT LINE AND RUN TO THE FINISH LINE. I ended up getting second in this workout, right behind Tia.
At the end of the day, I was sitting in 5th place. The doubt I have in myself was questioning how that was even possible. Just being real. I also knew that this meant I would be in the final heat on Sunday – with Tia, Kristi Eramo, Danielle Brandon, and Fee – all people I really look up to and admire. I was so pumped about this opportunity, but I knew the first workout on Sunday would be tough for me.
That night, we got chipotle (again). Emerson did some 5 year old body work on me, and we just took it easy. I can’t say again how awesome it was to have Daniel and Colin and Steven and Emerson all there.
I woke up Sunday feeling GREAT. My butt grew a little from all those lunges, so I was happy that I traded my small shorts out for some mediums.
The first workout was 10 Rounds (I think) of: 50/40 heavy double unders (with a RX Zeus rope) + 2 legless rope climbs. The girls alternated each round from 2 to 1 rope climb. Ok, yes. That is a lot of LEGLESS rope climbs. They announced this workout when I was coaching Thursday morning – literally like an hour before I left. Colin saw it and told me about it, and we felt great about it. I figured the 2 and 1 alternating each round would help me. I did a workout several weeks before that was 10 rounds of 1 legless rope climb + 10 DB hang squat cleans + 35 double unders, sooo.. ya know.. kinda similar. That day (not this day 🙂 I got every single one of my rope climbs, and I finished pretty quickly. I had been working legless rope climbs every single week since I found out I qualified for Wodapalooza. Last May, in Iceland, my biceps busted up after 3 legless rope climbs. I could never recover to get the 4th before moving on, and I was so mad about it. Unfortunately, our ropes are a little shorter, but I’ve been practicing from a seated position, not jumping, etc. I am NOT great at them, BUT I have improved SO MUCH. I have practiced, and done EMOMs, and thrown them in workouts, and even tested out how long it takes me to recover when I fail one (because that does happen to me a good bit with these). I was even telling some of the girls that I liked this workout because I was ready to show how hard I have been working. Well, LoL because that did NOT happen.
The reason it took me over a week after the comp to post this is because of this rope climb thing. I was so embarrassed. I got out there and froze. The first round was so uncomfortable, and instead of pushing through that discomfort, I let it get the best of me! I even broke on the double unders on purpose. That was my first time using a Zeus weighted rope, and it was a challenge. My biceps like to get these big bricks in them, and the weighted double unders didn’t help. I got 2 legless rope climbs, but the second one didn’t feel right. I got back to the jump rope and could feel the bricks coming. Instead of dismissing how I felt, I dwelled on it. When I jumped back on the rope, it felt so off – like I had never done one before. My mind was out. I got almost to the top, but I just couldn’t get it. I was like inches away. I tried again. And again. And again. I am not sure how many times I failed, and I still have yet to go on youtube and watch it. Although, a few people have told me it would be good for me to do that.
There I was. In the last heat at the Mayhem Classic. Struggling to get my legless rope climbs. The other girls were getting so close to finishing. I was on Round 2. I felt like I didn’t belong in that last heat, much less in this sanctional. I was thinking that all these wonderful people paid $200 to come watch this, and I am the show they are getting. IDK if these are selfish thoughts, or irrational, or normal, or what, but they were all going through my head. Everyone was being really great about it though because I would get so close to the top and I could hear everyone cheering so loud.
Meanwhile, Tia finished. And if I didn’t already have enough love and respect for her… She came over to me and coached me through it. I wanted to be like, “Tia – I know how to do these rope climbs. I am an elite athlete.” But she knew. The best coaching advice she gave me was (and I’ll never forget it), “Alison you know how to do this. You’ve done these before. Your body can do much. It’s your mind that holds you back.”
And that was all I needed, I guess. Because with bricks in my forearms and biceps.. I was able to get one more rope climb. And the entire place cheered me on to it.
It meant so much to me. It showed me, once again, just how special the CrossFit community really is. I will never forget that. I was so embarrassed. BUT I wouldn’t have wanted it to go down any other way. I will keep working on those rope climbs, for sure.
Alright, well, sorry I know this is turning into a novel, but it gets better.
They announced the final workout. It was a couplet of parallette deficit handstand pushups + heavy ish squat cleans. I felt great about the squat cleans. Not so much about the handstand pushups. The girls had one abmat and one 45 lb plate (competition 45 that is.. so like a 25 lb high temp plate.. haha). I HAVE done these before. In fact, a couple weeks prior, I did a Mayhem workout that had parallette HSPU + power cleans at 125 lb. I think it was 21-15-9 of each. However, these HSPUs were with TWO 45 lb plates, and I used our high temp 45’s. Honestly, other than that, I’ve maybe worked with parallettes like 5 times ever. So, that is my fault. Let’s be real. I feel weird even kicking up to parallettes. IDK if I am even spelling parallettes right.
I didn’t think these would be too bad though. BUT, I started to warm up in the back. I didn’t even ease my way into one. I just went for it with the deficit we’d be doing. I failed. I texted Colin and was like, “yeah, so these are going to be a little tougher than I thought.” I texted Amy. She’s amazing at stuff like this. I was like, hey I’m going to video myself doing this and send it to you. When she saw my video, she was prob like, “ehhhh this is going to be tough.”She gave me some pointers too. Some of the girls in the back gave me some pointers. I was trying to hide the fact that I was scared for what was about to happen. I finally started getting some reps – with the help of Colin, Amy, and a few of the athletes.
So, I get out there. We have to get 12 reps before moving on to the barbell. I did 2 reps. They didn’t feel too bad. I kicked down because that felt like the right thing to do. Well, I must have used up all my reps while warming up because I just started failing them. I felt so strong going into this comp, but doing HSPU on those parallettes showed me that I really don’t know how to use my strength. My kip was off. I would rest on my head, and just kick as hard as I could. I don’t mind deficit HSPU, but I just didn’t feel like I could press the way I wanted to. My shoulders felt fine. In fact, for the 3rd day of a competition, they felt great.
So, there I was, in the last heat. Again. Not getting my HSPU. The other four girls were all finishing. I feel like it was just me. On round 1. Just a girl trying to get some HSPU.
Because the venue was so small, my friends were right there cheering me on. Their cheers soon because coaching cues. Colin told me to just smile. I could hear Emerson cheering for me. And when you hear a 5 year old little girl cheering for you (one who has a bright future and is so loved), it just does something to you. Everyone was trying to help me. Even Becca Voight, who I’ve always wanted to meet, and one of my heroes, and fellow competitors came over to coach me. And yeah, I’ll reemphasize that I was mortified, BUT I knew that good would come from it.
My now friend, Tia who had been finished for a couple minutes or so, came back to coach me and pump me up. By this time, I had failed so many reps. I think I was at 5 reps that actually counted. She told me I could do it. There was like 10 seconds left. Everyone cheered so loud as I fought so hard for that next rep (it was the last one I would get, and the way I ended my weekend at the Mayhem Classic). Anddd…. I got the rep. I even gave Tia a hug. I dunno where that came from. I’m not much of a hugger. But that moment meant so much to me that I think I became a hugger.
Time was called, and I immediately left the floor and cried so hard – not because I was sad or disappointed (although I was). But because of the kindness that was shown to me at CrossFit Mayhem that day. It wasn’t a great day for me, but it will probably always be my most memorable and teachable moment of CrossFit.
It was that moment that I was reminded of why I even do CrossFit in the first place. Would it be cool to qualify for the games? Or at least some other big competitions in the future?!? YEAH. I’m not going to play that off. But that is NOT why I do CrossFit. There is a life outside of CrossFit, and if I can carry myself in an honorable way, even in the tough times, I think I am doing something right. I wasn’t proud of what I did. I’m still too scared to watch it. But I was proud of how I carried myself through it. And I am so thankful for everyone who cheered me on and helped me believe that I could do it – even if it was just a few (or a lot of) reps short of what I wanted 🙂 🙂
There’s a lot more going on around us if we can just get out of our own way and see it.
BUT WITH THAT, I AM SO PUMPED TO COMPETE IN 4 WEEKS AT WODAPALOOZA IN THE ELITE DIVISION, WITH SOME AMAZING ATHLETES. WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY. I’M GOING TO KEEP GETTING BETTER. #Bignastics #Thicnastics.
Thanks, as always for the support – especially if you are someone else other than my mom who made it through this entire post. I hope that even if you don’t do CrossFit, you can take something positive away from it.