OK, I’m 3 hours, 2 rum and Cokes, 1 hot shower and 1/2 a pizza removed from working/witnessing the Carolina Fitness Challenge and I’m still trying to get my head around much of what I saw. It was a mind bending day!

For those unfamiliar with the Challenge, it’s a Crossfit competition hosted by Crossfit Durham to crown the fittest man and woman in North Carlonia. Competitors participate in 4 different WODs designed to challenge as many aspects of their fitness as possible over the course of the day.

Here are some of my mental notes:

* 4WODs in a Day — Holy Sh1t~! I work out on average 4 times a week now. Most days I do a WOD and when I walk out of the gym I think, “that’s it. I’m good for a day…maybe two.! These lunatics (and I use that term with the utmost respect), did 4 in one day! I’m sore from spending Saturday puttering around the gym all day being a volunteer! I can’t imagine the pain these athletes must be in right now.

* The Definition of Determination I got to bear witness to one of the most remarkable athletic performances I’ve ever seen in my life time. I watched an 84# woman in her THIRD WOD deadlift 185# not once, not twice but 45 Times, mixed in among other exercises as part of that third WOD! Dwell on that for a moment. 2.2x her own bodyweight, 45 times! I’d have to deadlift 517# to match that. My current 1RM is 310#!

She went on to the finals! She ended up having to do ANOTHER workout later in the day. She didn’t make it up on the podium at day’s end, but she was deinitely a champion in eveyrone’s eyes, and was awareded a “Spirit of the Games” award for the effort.

I didn’t see the start of her competition. I was outside volunteering at the APS fund raising booth when this work out started. When this young woman lifted that bar the first time, the crowd of hundreds cheered so loud the windows rattled! Craig, Michelle and I all looked at each other and simultaneously said, “what the hell?!” Craig went inside to see what the noise was about and when he told us what was going on we took turns going in to observe. It was obvious this was something special.

Part of the moment was that gym affiliations and the overall competition became secondary. EVERYONE was rooting for this woman. Well ok, maybe the women actually competing side by side with her at that moment weren’t rooting for her. But EVERYONE on the spectator’s side of the ropes on the arena floor appreciated what she was doing and we celebrated EVERY rep like it might be the last. That feeling of community, brotherhood and bearing witness was remarkable.

* The Final Countdown — I stood by with 100 plus athletes and fans as the final competitor to finish the final WOD in the final heat of the day banged out his final reps. After 10 or 11 hours of competition over the course of the day we all stood together and cheered as he churned through his last 10 thrusters in what was effectively a double “Fran.” The WOD for the finals was 100 double under buy in, then 90 thrusters and 90 pull ups any order you choose. The entire gym again stood shoulder to shoulder and counted out his last 10 reps in unison. You could visibly see the lift he got from it. I felt lifted myself just as a spectator.

* Ground to Overhead — I watched one of our coaches do a ground to overhead lift that had to exceed 300# and he didn’t qualify for the second round of competition! That’s not a slight on Doug! The rest of the competition was just that good. My current overhead PR is 185# on a split jerk. That’s off a rack, not off the floor. If I have any aspiration to take part in this, and I admit, I waver back and forth, I have MILES to go before I’m going to be able to make a showing at a competition like this.

* The Women’s Open champion was so fit and lean that as she was doing pull ups for the final WOD, I swear you could see every sinew of every muscle firing and twitching. There was not a SINGLE ounce of body fat on this woman. I was reminded of those Discovery Channel shows “Science of Sport” where they show you a CGI body minus the skin. The ones where as the model goes through the range of motions you watch all the exposed muscles work. Yeah, that. By the way, she hammered through that double Fran in 12:14 after a full day of competition. Holy hell!

* What’s next — I said publicly a few weeks ago that when my 58 year old neighbor signed up for this competition, I had no more excuses not to do it and found the inspiration I need to compete in 2012. After watching the competition yesterday, I think I still have the inspiration to compete, but realistically, I think we’re looking at 2013, if I’m going to make any sort of respectable showing.