Glory Dawson (22nd overall) from CrossFit San Diego and CrossFit BWI was the only person (male or female) to compete in both the affiliate competition on Friday and the individual competition on Saturday. She writes about that experience.
I was completely stoked that I had just qualified for the 2009 CrossFit games from the Mid-Atlantic Region. I was in 2nd place at the end of the first day and things were looking good. However, after the grueling final workout of snatches and chest-to-bar pull-ups (21-15-9) I finished in 5th place. The snatches weren't too bad, but those crazy chest-to-bar pull-ups were tough!
Leading up to the qualifiers, I had been training at CrossFit BWI in Glen Burnie, MD, just south of Baltimore. I credit my success at the qualifiers to my awesome trainer and friend, Ryan Thompson. Ryan pushed me hard and always encouraged me to do my best! After the qualifiers, CrossFit BWI decided to enter a team into the Affiliate Cup. I was so excited that part of my CrossFit family would also be at the games in Aromas and have a chance to compete as a team. We could cheer for each other.
In early June, I moved to San Diego, CA to stay with a friend. Moving was tough right before the Games. It took a week to drive across the country and it really affected my
training. But I was excited because my friends told me great things about all the gyms in San Diego. So when I received such a warm welcome from CrossFit San Diego, I knew it would be my new home. There I resumed my training with JP Bolwahnn for the impending unknown of the Games.
A few weeks before Aromas, I found out that one of the girls on the BWI Affiliate Cup team wasn't going to be able to compete. The team was a girl short and they asked me if I would consider taking her place. This would mean extra work for me and possibly put me at a disadvantage for the individual events the next day. I didn't think anyone else was double competing. But they had already purchased their plane tickets and were so excited to compete. They couldn't compete without my help. I decided that I just couldn't let them down. I figured that giving them a chance to compete was more important than whether I did well through the rest of the competition. I didn't realize that I had just agreed to complete insanity and total overachievement. What was I thinking? If there's one thing I've learned, it's that CrossFitters, myself included, are a special breed. We like the thrill of a great challenge; the harder the better, right?
As game day approached, I started to panic. Really panic!! Up until the qualifiers, I had never done more than two WODs in one day. I remembered how my body screamed at me, "Someone please knock me out!" It took me days to recover and now I was going to triple the work and possibly compete for three days straight. I knew the individual events would be tough. But what if I could do all the workouts really well and qualify in the top sixteen? I was going to kick myself for agreeing to do the team workouts on Friday. But I gave my word so I had to do it. I just hoped I'd live to tell the story. I'm a pretty well rounded athlete but I was having nightmares about the possibility of handstand pushups and muscle-ups and those dreaded pull-ups. I consoled myself with the thought that if I couldn't measure up in the individual competition, I would still have the enjoyment of competing in the team events with my peeps from CF BWI.
On Friday we got to see the individual events for Saturday. I felt I'd be strong in all five events. My heart sank as I realized that I was about to do eight WODs between Friday and Saturday. And if I made it to Sunday; I didn't want to think about it. My team suggested I look at Friday's events as a warm-up to the individual events on Saturday. That's easy for them to say, right? How many times did I have to run up that hill in two days? I still can't believe that I did it.
I made it through the first day, the Affiliate Cup events, with flying colors. I blasted through all thirty deadlifts on the arena WOD, sprinted the crazy hill twice and maxed out on my overhead squats and pull-ups. I was feeling pretty good. My team had done awesome! Maybe I would make it through after all.
On Saturday, I woke up feeling a little sore and slightly worried about doing well. I was mostly worried about that long, four-mile run I was going to have to finish. My mom and sister, who flew in from Maryland to cheer me on, encouraged me as we drove to the competition on Saturday morning. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "How am I going to do this? I can't run. I'm 20 pounds heavier than most of the other competitors. I'll be the last one over the finish line."
Mom: "You have been running long distance with your dad for years. You're just being silly. I know you'll surprise myself. You will do just fine."
Mothers are great, aren't they? They believe in you even when you don't believe in yourself.
As the day progressed, I did surprise myself and my confidence grew. I didn't think I could hang with the big dogs but I did. I finished in 22nd place overall. The whole experience was amazing. I'm glad I was able to do well as an individual after helping my team to a 36th place finish.
As I reflect on it, I realize that I was challenged to do something bigger and physically more demanding than I've ever done. But I faced it head on and overcame the odds. I couldn't have done this without the support of such an amazing community of people. Thank you!
Will I try competing in both competitions again? No way! But if there is one thing you can count on, it's that I'll definitely be back next year. And I promise that I won't fear muscle-ups, or handstand push-ups, or any other grotesque upper body exercise for that matter. I'll be prepared for anything.