Little late here, but better late than never. Just some personal thoughts, lessons learned, and reflections on the 2016 Icebreaker Competition.
Events 1 & 2 – “Max Snatch and C&J”
“Don’t Get Cocky”
Day 1 was dedicated (almost) entirely to weightlifting; which I was pretty happy about as I’ve always considered weightlifting to be one of my strengths. Turns out, most of the other girls competing that weekend were in the same boat. I don’t know exactly what I expected, but if I’m honest with myself I was probably a little ‘overconfident’ going in because
“I’m a weightlifter, this is my jam”
After watching the first few heats however (and how much weight the girls were putting up); I started to get nervous. At which point I realized that I had to stop worrying about everyone else and focus on my own performance if I wanted to hit the lifts I needed.
“The Bar will feel heavy, commit to the lift”
The first few inches of pull are often the ‘worst’ part of the whole lift for me – especially when I near or at my max – because the moment the bar feels heavy coming off the ground my brain kicks in and says
“shit it’s heavy, I can’t lift this”
and then I don’t. Except that 90%* of the time it’s not the weight on the bar or my strength that’s the problem, its my brain. In the end, I hit 155lb (Snatch) and 200lb (Clean and Jerk)*, but when I watched my 160 and 210 the only difference I saw was the lack of belief and commitment.
Event 3 – “The Tricycle”
“No Grip? No Go”
When the workout was first released I got myself to a pull-up bar to try the Pull-Up/Toes-to-bar Complex and was relieved to discover I could go unbroken. Turns out however, going unbroken really wasn’t the key to success on this workout. Event #3 was essentially a test of Grip Strength, Grit and Gymnastics (or as I like to think of it, ‘The Three Gs’), and in the end what mattered most was being able to maintain all three for the duration of the workout. Breaking things up may have been slower at first, but so long as the breaks were short
“hop off the bar, quick shake, get back up “
it wasn’t that much slower, and because coming off the bar helped to maintain grip, it actually paid off in the later rounds. A perfect example of this was Deanna Schaper-Kotter, who broke it down into smaller sets pretty much from the start, and finished in 5th place because she was able to maintain her pace and grip the whole way through.
Event 4 – “Rahoi”
“The body is capable of handling a lot more than we give it credit for”
By far the most unpleasant and uncomfortable workout of the entire weekend. In general, AMRAPs so much worse than “For Time” WODs; because going harder/faster doesn’t mean you’re done quicker, it just means you get to work for the same amount of time and feel even more uncomfortable. Also, apparently Rahoi is a Hero Workout (didn’t realize that until the day of) and in general Hero workouts tend fall on the “really uncomfortable” end of the WOD spectrum.
The workout itself was nothing fancy:
But it didn’t need to be to hurt. Essentially, this workout just came down to, finding the most uncomfortable pace you can maintain and sticking to it for as long as you can. I vaguely remember Ryan Jarvis (aka DJ Rhyno) commentating during the WOD and saying who was out in front/by how many reps; but to be honest, other than the first and final minute I didn’t really care where anyone else was because it was irrelevant. I wasn’t going to go any, I was just trying to keep moving and not slow down.
Event 5 – “Deadly”
Sometimes it’s the little things that get you
Deadlifts have always been one of my weaker lifts. I can get through them, but I have trouble repping them out, my form often falls apart rapidly and I get really self-conscious when I feel it happening. So, needless to say, when they announced event #5 was a Heavy Deadlift + Double-Under Couplet I was pretty apprehensive.
Usually for higher volume deads at that weight I would belt up, but I didn’t want to be wearing a belt for the Double-Unders and thought adjusting it might slow me down too much. Turns out, the deadlifts were fine (well not fine, but they went better than I expected) and the belt didn’t slow me down (because I decided not to wear it). What got me on this workout was my double-unders (or lack of), which I completely fell apart. Round 1 and 2 were ok(ish) but I distinctly remember on Round 3 going something like this:
*Double-unders*….*trips*… “What am I at?” (Me)…”14″ (Judge)….*more double unders*….*trips again*…”What am I at?”…..”21″
Oh man I was frustrated by the end of that workout. And to make things worse, finishing 11th on that WOD bumped me down to 6th place and put me uncomfortably close to getting cut from the Winner takes all Final*. But it just goes to show that anything can happen, you can’t take something for granted (especially double unders) and sometimes it’s the things you least expect that trip you up (literally….).
*Only top 6 make the final. My goal going into the weekend was to be in that top 6
Event 6 – “Balls”
“Roses are Red, Violets are Blue….pushups killed me, and the Wallballs did too”
Going into this workout I was determined to leave it all on the floor. Because I knew how disappointed I would be if, after being in the top 6 all weekend, I dropped out just before the cut was made. Initially, I had it in my head that the ‘key’ to this workout would be ‘smart sets’ on the Push-Ups (i.e. don’t go to failure) and Unbroken (or 2 sets) for the Wallballs.
Push-Ups went more or less how I expected, they broke down relatively quickly but by breaking them up I managed to get through them pretty okay. The wallballs, on the other hand, were not how I pictured them at all. I’ve never been a big fan of wallballs, but usually it;s just matter of reminding myself:
“you can always do one more rep”
Because usually when I put the ball down it’s because I broke mentally, not physically. apparently, that’s not the case for me with a 20lb wallball, because about half-way through the round of 21, I started getting no-repped for missing the target. Luckily, I had enough sense (or enough people yelling at me) to realize I needed to switch to smaller sets with short rest in between; and I managed to place high enough on that WOD to continue on to the final. But, after seeing how that workout broke down I think I need to work with a heavier ball in training and be a little more wary next time I see 20lb wallballs in competition.
Event 7 – “Two Can ‘Dyne'”
“Every Second Counts”
The final workout was a “winner-takes-all”, and each athlete was given a time handicap based on how far behind the leader they were (in total points)
i.e. If the athlete in second place was 2 points behind the athlete in first, they had a 2 second penalty. If the athlete in third place was 7 points behind the athlete in first, they were given a 7 second penalty and so on….
Which was actually a really cool way to do it; although, it did make for a pretty anticlimactic start to the final. Not only was everyone given ‘penalty seconds’, the workout was done head to head in heats of two (6th vs 5th, 4th vs 3rd, 2nd vs 1st); which meant that at “3,2,1, GO” the only person allowed to “go” was the athlete in first. Everyone else had to wait for the appropriate number of ‘penalty seconds’ to elapse before they too could start.
A few “penalty seconds” may not seem like a big deal; however, as the WOD itself was pretty much an all-out sprint, it did end up making a difference.
The Final (Women’s) Workout Was, For Time:
- 15 Airdyne Calories
- 12 Handstand Pushups
- 9 Ground-to-Overhead (105)
And the difference between the girl who took first (Emily Schultz) and me was literally one second (gahhhhh, damn you penalty seconds). But those were the rules, she earned those extra seconds of head start by doing better all weekend, and it was a perfect reminder of the fact that every second really does count. And to be honest, while I did kick myself (just a little bit) for missing out on the top spot by 1 second; overall I’m actually really happy with how I finished. My goal for the weekend was to be in the top 6, so finishing second place was a huge win for me, especially as it is the first time I have made it onto the podium in CrossFit.