Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Weekends of Fun!

The last two weekends have been full of athletic adventures - and SO much fun!

Saturday, October 9th a bunch of friends and I traveled to Houston to compete in the Oktoberfest Obliteration II CrossFit Competition - What a Blast!

Sunday, October 17th, several of us ran in the Harbor Half Marathon right here in Portland - which ended up being a lot of fun as well!

I've summarized my experiences at both events below:

Oktoberfest Obliteration II

This was CrossFit Competition at it's absolute best. The organizers of this event (CrossFit Champions) did an amazing job of putting it all together. The programming and organization of the entire event couldn't possibly have been any more perfect.

I competed in the Standard Women's Division - I won't spell out all of the details of the WODs (you can check out the link for that), but I have to say that when they were announced, I was THRILLED to find that there were no gymnastics movements! After my initial elation though, I started looking at them a little more closely, and realized that there were HEAVY squat cleans in one of the WODS - I love Oly Lifting - so I had been initially thrilled to see Squat Cleans. . . . but then I realized that they were set at 125 lbs and my current 1RM Front Squat is 130! Ruh Roh.

The good news (for me anyway) was that the heavy Squat Cleans were in the first WOD of the day, so I was able to get that one over with, and then stop worrying about it!

I did the best that I could - there was a little strategy involved with this WOD - I knocked out all of the other required movements (KB Swings and Runs) first before starting my Cleans. I started my Cleans with about 5 minutes remaining . . and tried. . . . and tried. . . . and tried some more to squat clean that weight! After a few failed attempts, I decided to Power Clean it, and then Front Squat it (also acceptable). I power cleaned it without too much trouble several times, but kept failing at the bottom of my Front Squat. When the whistle blew to signal that the allotted time was up, I hadn't completed a single full Squat Clean. And you know what? I was totally okay with it!

Was I frustrated that I had DNF'd a WOD at competition? Sure.

A little embarrassed that I hadn't gotten a single rep of the Cleans? Yep.

But did I walk away knowing that I had given everything that I possibly could have of myself during the WOD? Yes I did - and THAT is why I was A-OKAY with the DNF - there was not a single thing that I could have done differently to change the outcome - and I know with all of my heart that I left it all "on the court". . . so I had no problem walking off the blacktop with my head held high and mentally preparing myeslf for the remaining WODS of the day.

Lesson Learned: I need to continue to focus on building strength, and never, ever, ever skip a squat day! :)

The rest of the day went great - I saw some absolutely amazing performances by good friends and strangers alike and left at the end off the day feeling inspired by those performances. And also motivated to continue to work hard on my own performance!

That's the thing that I love about attending CrossFit Competitions - no matter what level I am at, I will always find inspiration in those competing around and with me. It's just so amazing to watch someone push themselves to their limit, and then keep on pushing. And the look of satisfaction on a person's face when they've finished a WOD and know beyond a doubt that they gave it their all and dug deeper than they realized that they could - that is more inspirational, uplifting, and motivational than words can describe.

Harbor Half Marathon

I found out the weekend of Oktoberfest Obliteration that a fellow CrossFitter and friend of mine was running the Harbor Half Relay marathon the following weekeend, but needed a Relay Race Partner. Let me state for the record here, that I am NOT A RUNNER!! . . however this race did sound like a lot of fun, so I told her that if she was unable to find another partner (who actually WAS a runner!), then I'd run it with her.

I'll be dead honest here - I was initially dreading it and praying that someone else would want to run it . . . but then a few days before the race when I realized that it was probably going to be me, I started to look forward to the challenge of it! I hadn't run more than 3 miles in a single session in at least 2 years (and probably double that). . . so the thought of running 6.5 miles was both terrifying and tempting at the same time. In the end, I decided to use this opportunity to prove to myself that I was capable of more than I thought I was - and that I really could push past the 3 mile mark if I put mind over matter. I didn't want to let my friend down, and I figured if nothing else, that thought would be enough to keep me moving forward.

I have several friends that are runners - and any of you reading this are probably laughing. I realize that 6.5 miles to "a runner" is nothing. It would probably be the equivalent of me squatting 90 lbs . . it takes a little effort, but it's not really "hard". To a "non-runner" though, 6.5 miles is very intimidating! Especially when you throw trekking up the Harbor Bridge into the mix!

Sunday morning 5am rolled around, and I found myself waking up to my alarm actually excited (Suprise!)

My Relay Partner and I met before the race and psyched each other up, and then it was "off to the races" . . . literally!

I ran the second leg . When she passed off to me, I just started at a nice easy pace, and did my best to maintain it. I think this must have been the trick. Before I realized it, I was coming up on the bridge and realized that I'd already covered about 4.5 out of my 6.5 miles! I guess that's when the runner's high kicked in because I just zoned back out and before I realized it was crossing the finish line . . and thinking to myself "Wow - I can't believe I just did that!"

I'll be honest - I don't think either of us gave a second thought as to our placement at the start of the race - My goal was just to run the full 6.5 without slowing to a walk. One foot in front of the other at least at a jog, and I'd be happy. Turns out that we finished in 15th place out the 100 Female Only teams that ran! I was so proud of us! And happy to have a friend that was willing to push me outside of my comfort zone :)

Lesson Learned: Sometimes, just convincing myself that I'm capable of something is enough to make it true! I think that if we could just get our heads out of the way half of the time, we'd be capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for!

Oh, and I still don't consider myself "A Runner", but I did have a heck of a good time, mostly due to great company and re-connecting with several friends that I hadn't seen in too long. And who knows? Maybe after my stregnth building cycle is over with, I'll start running just a little more often. . it was suprisingly relaxing to zone out to my I-pod and let my legs just go.

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