It’s been a busy couple of days. Trying to catch up and get down my thoughts on all that’s gone on.

Saturday – Olympic lifting competition.
What an experience! So thankful to the gym for hosting and for everyone that volunteered their time to help conduct the event. It was a treat to take part.

Standing in front of roughly 80 people to do something you’re reasonably confident has a fairly high probability of going spectacularly wrong is not easy. Yet I did it along with close to 30 other bold athletes. This was like no athletic event I’ve ever been a part of.

I was always a team sport athlete in school. I swam competitively through high school. That’s an individual event but there were always 5 other people on the starting blocks at the same time. This is the first time I’ve ever stood out on a platform alone like this. It was intense.

It’s not just the being alone out there. It’s the proximity and configuration of the judges. Most of the time when I lift in the gym I position myself to face a bare wall, or at least position myself in a way that I can minimize the visual distractions.

If a coach is observing, they generally stand a step or two away and typically off at an angle. Not in this competition.

Yesterday there was a judge at the lifter’s 9 o’clock, 3 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions, with the audience was all lined up behind him. Not only was the judge sitting right there in front of us. He was close! I’m not a great judge of distance, but I’m reasonably sure that if we’d both stood up from our spots, turned side ways to each other and extended our arms, our fingers would have touched. It seemed that close! Safe to say that took some getting used to.

The environment itself was awesome! The crowd was fantastic! The respect, encouragement and energy that they offered to all of the lifters was remarkable. It sounds cliché, but everyone in that crowd wanted every lifter to be successful every time and they were giving every bit of will power and energy that they could when a lifter struggled. As an athlete, you couldn’t ask for a better audience. So, how did the lifting go? Well, it went fine.

Here’s my score card to prove it.

Crossfit Durham Oly competition Score card

Any ball player would love a 4 for 6 kind of day.

See the x’s next to the 145s on the snatch? That means those lifts didn’t count. They were disqualified because there’s a rule that says when you snatch, you have to catch the bar in a position with your arms fully extended and locked out overhead. I failed to do that on those lifts. I caught the bar too low with my arms bent and had to press it out to extend and lock my arms. So those lifts didn’t count.

You know what? I’m ok with that. Because both times the bar went from the floor to over my head and stayed there until a judge said I was permitted to put it down. I didn’t snatch 145#, but I damn sure lifted it twice! I’m satisfied with that. I’ve done a bit more than that in workouts, but as Coach Dave pointed out, for all of us who were competing for the first time, any successful lifts today counted as “platform” or “competition” PR’s. I’ll take it. Pencil me in for a 135# platform PR snatch.

The clean and jerks went better. I successfully hit all three weights and all 3 were judged “good lifts.” The heaviest lift on the day at 180 was again, not the most I’ve ever clean and jerked, but it’s not off by much. It’s about 92% of 1RM. Hell, I’m just glad I didn’t “airmail” any of my cleans.

I’ve been having real trouble with my grip on cleans lately and I have on more than one occasion unintentionally flung some heavy barbells forward. That’s information the judge sitting in front of me at the time may or may not have wanted to have, eh Jack?

On the whole, I’m looking at my lifts through a baseball lens. I figure I stepped onto the platform 6 times yesterday, like a batter getting 6 at bats. 4 of the 6 at bats I got clean base hits. No home runs, but I hit the ball cleanly. The other two? I got on base. Call them errors? Ok. I don’t mind. Any ball player would be thrilled to tell anyone that in 6 plate appearances they got on base all 6 times. So it was a very good day.
Sunday – Father’s Day Workout.

I’m still chuckling at the fact that a) for Father’s Day I really wanted nothing more than to start my day with a trip to the gym for a workout that the family could take part in and b) my family indulged me. I am a lucky, lucky man.

The work out was 15 minutes as many rounds as possible, done in teams of 4. Everyone working simultaneously. One person does a 200M run carrying a medicine ball. One person does burpees, One person does wall balls. One person does sit ups. When the person doing the 200M run returns to the gym everyone rotates one station.

Whirlwind, Erin and I and another athlete, Mel, formed a team and worked out our various medicine balls and our rotation. I didn’t count reps for myself and I don’t know exactly how many rounds we completed. I do know that I ran three times, but I didn’t start there. I also know there was only 30 seconds remaining when I went out the gym door and I didn’t complete a 200M med ball run in that time. But the stats today were very secondary.

I got to spend a morning sharing this crazy Crossfit experience that I love with my entire family and we all had a blast. The Whirlwind LOVED working out with the grown ups and in true crossfit fashion, the adults were great with and to him. Cheering him on as he ran, encouraging him to shoot as high as he was capable on the wall balls. Even with a 6# med ball, a 9ft shot is a long target for a 9yo. But he made his parents proud. He hung in for the full 15 minutes. Hell, he was very likely the fastest runner on our team.

Erin was also spectacular…and she’s got the CrossFit itch now. As she put it to me on the ride home, she said, “You know? About halfway through that WOD I was thinking to myself, Crossfitters are all crazy and sick….and I want to get in on it.” We’re discussing the logistics of how we’ll manage the family schedule to get her into the Crossfit Durham fold once both kids are in school full-time this Fall.

All in all, a pretty fabulous active weekend. Looking forward to the week ahead.