Some days you have to throw caution to the wind. some days it pays off big. Some days, well, you’ll see.

The workout today was a very informal competition of the Crossfit Total work out. Athletes get three attempts to set a one round maximum lift (1RM) at three lifts: back squat, strict press, and dead lift. The CF Total score is the sum of the heaviest successful rep of each lift.

I did this workout back at the first of the year and scored an 805#. I posted yesterday about how emotionally this workout meant more to me than others and I wasn’t overly concerned about the numbers. And that was true today when I woke up and set out for the gym. Still, like any workout I tried to approach this strategically and had some pretty specific goals in mind.

My overall strategy for the day: was first lift – hit something within 90% of current 1RM. Second lift – come in just under last recorded PR. 3rd Lift – if successful at lift 2, then be bold.

Back Squat this went pretty much according to plan. With a current 1RM of 280, I hit 250 for the first lift. Second lift was 275. Final lift was successful at 295! Nice to start the day with a 15# pr.

Press – With a current 1RM of 155, I hit 135 for the first lift. 150 on the second. Presses felt very heavy today. When warming up, I did a couple reps at 115 and thought, “whoa. This shouldn’t feel this heavy.” I took a shot at 165 for the final lift, but didn’t really get it past my forehead.

I did some fast math and realized I was at 445#/pts after two lifts. With a 1RM of 385, I planned to do my first deadlift at 350#. However, just before lifting, I thought, ” go for 365#. If you hit it, then you’re already ahead of your last CF Total score.” I was fortunate to pull it off.

This left me with 2 lifts to play with and a decision. Stick to the plan and maximize my overall CF Total score or take a risk and possibly blow my old score out of the water?

A 375 or 380 lift would have been the strategic move. It would have added 10 to 15 pounds to my overall score carrying me to 820 or 825. That would have been a marked improvement over 8 months ago.

But then I thought about it some more the crowd was so supportive, so encouraging that it just seemed like if ever there was a day to be bold, this was that day. I figured, “what the hell? Let’s get serious about going after that 400# deadlift.” I contemplated lifting 390, but went for a bigger jump and took my second turn at 395#. It was too much.

The weight came up off the floor. I might have gotten my hands beyond my knees. Maybe. But that was it. I couldn’t go further. After a few other lifters rotated through on other platforms, I took one more shot at it, but that lift wasn’t even as strong as the previous.

So 295+150+365=810. Just a bit better than last time and a nice PR on the back squat. I’m very satisfied with that.

Did I make a mistake being that aggressive? Did I leave points out there that I could have/should have picked up? You could make that case and I wouldn’t argue much. But what I would offer is this. First, with my current ability and lifting totals, I was never in this to ‘win’ against the other lifters. Multiple men put up scores over 1000, and I think there were more than one who topped out over 1100. So in that respect, I was never in the running, so I had nothing to lose.

Secondly, some days lightning strikes and while it’s not possible to predict exactly when or where it’s going to happen, it’s possible to read the signs and have a reasonable understanding that it’s likely to occur. Today felt like lightning might strike for me. My entire family was there cheering me on. I was surrounded by a group of athletes all setting remarkable PR’s of their own. Every one in that room wanted to see every body else excel today. If ever there was a day to harness positive energy from the group around you, this was it. In the end, I consider it a calculated risk. I stand by the decision. I’d make the same choice again, if I could.

Beyond my own lifting, I saw some stunning feats of strength today. My understanding is that 4 CF Durham women dead lifted 300#! Multiple men back squatted well over 400# and dead lifted over 500#! It was so cool just to be in their presence. Additionally, the vibe in the air from the athletes and audience was remarkable. Every attempt, whether a failed lift or a PR, was celebrated. Every time some one stepped to the bar they were met with encouragement, support and positivity. It’s pretty special to get to spend a day with a group of people like that. It was a privilege to be able to take part.