Tuesday, February 26, 2013

OC Throwdown 2013: Playing with the Big Kids

The crossfit games season begins in a week, but I competed in another little competition last month, and the lessons I learned there are really big for me coming into this competition season.... so I wanted to tell you about it.

The OC Throwdown was held in ummm... the OC... in case you didn't guess.
It seems to have begun as just a local event, reaching out to the surrounding Southern California region, but within a few years it has grown and drawn competitors from across the country including many Games competitors.   This is pretty cool.

It was only $10 to sign up for the online qualifier in the fall, and my coach encouraged all of us to participate. I'm a good athlete, in the respect that I generally do what I'm told - so I didn't think much of it and just signed up.

It probably is worth mentioning though that I didn't want to do it. Seriously, I thought it was dumb.
Some of my teammates had competed last year, and the feedback was so miserable I had an incredibly negative view toward it.  It was a subtle negative energy that didn't fully shake until long after the event was over I'm sad to say. Now looking back, you guys, I'm so grateful I did it.

I learned a lot...

1) Post Competition I made a table listing all the things I felt I did well and what I could improve on every work out.
Super organized right?!  I wish I could say I do this daily. 
The trend I found was that I didn't visualize myself completing the workouts.  Yeah, yeah, I wanted to do my best. I wanted to win. But I visualized "getting through" and "surviving" the "very heavy, very challenging workouts" (see. check them out)
Apart from the 1st event (which was my best by the way)... I didn't expect/plan to crush the prescribed amount of work within the time limit.

Lesson: you will rarely achieve something challenging if you do not plan to achieve it.  Aim HIGH. Visualize Strong. If you get out there and all your visualization falls short, learn a new lesson, but for goodness sake at least make a point to believe you can do whatever you set out to do!

I have made this mistake several times. Now I see it, and will actively be working this area of mental preparation going into this games season.

2) I'm a pro. HEH. THAT'S FUNNY :) 
 It was published that the top 60 from the series of qualifying workouts would be invited to compete.  The top 30 would be in the pro division and the next 30 would be in the amateur division.  I qualified into the amateur division, and I was very cool with that.

When I got there, there was only one female division. Professional.
We were all competing in the Pro division.
There were at least 7 individual games competitors.
There were several more that proposedly (did I make that word up?) should have, would have, could have qualified in another region than their own, or  who have qualified in years past.  AND there were even several more that competed at the Games as part of a team.
It was truly a pro division.

Lesson: Don't be intimidated to play with the big girls.  Be adaptable. In competition, focus on yourself and what you can control. Know that if you are there, you deserve to be there. 

3) I got served, demolished, crushed by my competition.
at least that's how it felt at the time.
I was so heart broken at the end of the 1st day, after 3 workouts.
I had done everything I could and I ended in failure... literally. muscle failure in 2 out of the 3.
There were minutes left on the clock and could not do one more muscle up in the 2nd workout.
There were minutes left on the clock and could not get to the top of the rope one more time in the 3rd workout.
I watched people blow past me because I just had nothing left.
But you know what?  I did 3 consecutive muscle ups for the only time in my life to date.
 I did a 20 ft. rope climb for the 1st time in my life. That's awesome.
You know what else? It's okay to "fail" - at the time it really felt like I was failing but I wasn't. I was holding my ground. I was fighting. I was competing.  That is a victory.

Lesson: In every failure there is a victory. 

Yeah yeah. trite little lessons. Calves. I'd roll my own eyes,
but I'm serious.

I had such a bad attitude going to this event, from the very first qualifier.  All my efforts at mental prep and focus and fun were real efforts. REALLY. I did try. But they were feeble compared to what was beneath.
The fear and the negativity were way bigger than I realized.... like the depths of an ice berg.

 (side note: Check out Mentality WOD! I need to spend more time with Dawn's freakin awesome material.)

Having this experience has been really incredible, because despite all the negativity. the difficulty. I did it.
I went, I worked, I laughed, I cried, it's over.
and now I can look back and say...

4) Yes, I did. I competed with games competitors.
not only did I show up at the same event with them, I QUALIFIED to compete with them.
AND I even beat a few of them on one event.  In a way, this was way bigger and cooler than regionals because it was top competitors from all over.

Yes it was hard.
So what?
It's going to be hard.
It's always going to be hard.
Even if I were the best in the world; this crossfit stuff we do, is not easy for anyone.
It's not supposed to be, and
That's a big part of what makes it worth it.
But getting my head out of my own anxiety and expectations about how I compare to everyone else and even how I compare to my own idea of who and what I should be is an absolute necessity for progress.

Lesson: Let your competition be your inspiration - every one of them is fighting.  Learn how they do it!

I have stood in line with Kris Clever at a few events over the last few years. Watching her attitude across the board has really convicted me about my own attitude, disposition and demeanor toward competition. I am so grateful for that experience. And in this particular competition to see Andrea Ager, Lyndsey V, Taylayna Fortunato, Gretchen Kittleberger and so many others in their zone was a great opportunity and inspiration. I love being part of this sport. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shifting Gears

Today's musical inspiration

Contrary to the fact that she is singing about a relationship fallout... and I am walking in the most exciting relationship of my life on the threshold of forever...  you know. besides that. this is the song resonating with me.
"White knuckles and sweaty palms, from hanging on too tight.  
Clenched jaw, I've got another headache again tonight."

As per my last post. Life is changing. It's awesome. But welcoming the new means letting go of some of the old. Shifting. surrendering. Reassessing. ummm. I think that's called Growing. 

And this is hard. Why?  It means trusting that everything will still be okay if I adjust my course.  The truth generally is that it turns out BETTER than okay. Better than it was. 
But it's different, and for some reason (scar tissue maybe?) different is stressful and scary and takes a little extra TLC to walk through. 

True Story Tangent:  when I moved from New Mexico to California two and a half years ago, 
EVEN though I was coming back to something familiar, that I had loved, 
I was so anxious that I started jiu jitsu on top of crossfit, 
AND sold my (4 yr old, paid in full) car and bought a new financed one.  
Why? why do things that add stress to escape stress? 
It's the distraction factor no doubt.  
I cover my fear about the unknown future with lots of activity
 for the present that doesn't let me think about it

So Here today. I am possibly ever such a little bit stressed out. Don't worry. I'm coping. but my default mode is "It all depends on me" - and I relapse sometimes.

Fortunately I am marrying the most loving, supportive, helpful man on the planet.
and that makes it better.

I have been pushing SO hard, for so long in my training, that it's now hard for me to shift.
Now is the time to take a different perspective.
Train less volume but higher intensity. Take more time to recover, mobilize, dial in my nutrition, and get my head straight... .
It is the time for that - we are leading in to competition season.
relaxed mental focus is the most powerful driving force. 

Fortunately this is all coming together at the same time.
Lent is just around the corner and that is my ultimate reset button.
Just common sense wise my training needs to chill for this season.
Which is convenient because I don't have the time or flexibility with work to train twice a day any more.
AND I have a wedding to give just ever so little attention to... one piece at a time.
and that's fun :)

Meanwhile I'll give you the highlights of my last month which have forced me to come to this enlightened (ha) place:
Holiday travel.... OC Beatdown umm.er. I mean throwdown (more to follow on that)...
immediately leading into a week long sickness.
with a few days to spare before I flew to Brazil for a week... yay!
only to contract a latin american micro-beast in my innards. leading to another week of sickness.
Now I am 9 pounds lighter and heading to my future in laws in oregon for a long weekend.

I predict that
1) workouts in the next several days will be a victory despite the empirical outcome, simply because I'm DOING it. 

2) I will enjoy my mini vacation. 

3) I will be back to normal weight and routine by February 15th, 

4) By the second week of the open my performance and strength will be back on track! and I will feel as great as ever. 

Yes. There it is:  new and simple and beautiful goals.

I will leave you with a visual snack of my time in Rio de Janeiro last week :)