Well, we finally made it to our first Crossfit Games and after day one we are exhausted! I really didn’t know what to expect but I am SO GLAD we decided to make this trip. Although, we did have a little bit of a rough start. Being that this is the start to our honeymoon Vaughan decided to go all the way and purchase us VIP tickets. I’ll let you know if a couple of days if the money was worth it. Not the best start on the first day.
Gates were to open at 8am and we got here at about 7:45am. Took a while to get through the line of traffic and parked but we obviously weren’t going anywhere fast because we ended up waiting in a ridiculously long line, in the rain none the less.. And unfortunately they didn’t start letting people in until well after 8:30am. So much for VIP entry. Fail #1 But that’s ok, cause we went immediately to the designated tent and got our free daily schwag, a pretty sweet crossfit t-shirt.
We then moved straight to the Reebok tent to purchase a pair of shoes we were both eyeing. Plus, I wanted a games shirt and I remembered that they ran out of them last year pretty quickly (online that is). I found myself standing in line for almost 20 minutes before I realized I had barely moved and was missing the first team even of the day -> relay race and Bob (a 6 person sled push and pull). So, in a fit of annoyance, I decided to place my clothing back on the shelf and find the jumbo-tron to watch the event. Vaughan had more patience then me. He simply laughed at me, had me go back and grab my clothes and he waited in line. He’s such a good husband.
We walked around a while to check out the vendors and I noticed a Paleo Food Truck. Excited about the Paleo movement and it’s growth, I headed over to check out the food. I was really disappointed. What I saw was a choice of meat (hamburger, some kind of stew or other), half of a cucumber and half of a avocado… The lack of creativity was sad to say the least. BUT, the creativity in crossfit outfits for the day was fantastic! Between beanies, converse, socks and sunglasses, a couple companies out there were getting rich with their variety. Vaughan tweeted out “Dear @Crossfit, @Converse thanks you.” So true!
We headed over to the track to watch the first women and men’s event and finally started reaping the benefits of the VIP status. There was a section reserved for us right next to the warmup area for the athletes! We got to briefly meet and great and get some really great shots. The first even was a GHD wall ball toss and triplet Split Cleans, Bar Muscle Ups and 400 meter run. There were a couple of girls in the first round who REALLY struggled with those muscle ups and this is where I began to experience what I cam here for… the camaraderie, support and love for the underdog. One athlete in particular was failing miserably at muscle ups. With each attempt she was giving it everything she had and pushing to the point of muscle fatigue. Her body simply wasn’t programmed yet for this movement, but the crowds hope in her didn’t waiver. With each attempt, the longer she pushed, the louder the crowd cheered and supported her in an effort that their energy would help her to the top. With each failed attempt, an audible sigh of compassion was heard followed by cheers for her to get up and try again. Through almost 8 grueling minutes she gave it her all, struggling, fighting and working to get over the bar. With each successful attempt the crowd went nuts, letting her know that they were proud of her and admired her for her fight. With less than a minute left she completed her 8 reps and took off for her run. A smile the whole stadium could appreciate was smothered across her face. The crowd went wild for the underdog and that moment will live forever in her memory. This is what makes Crossfit so amazing!
The sun decided to come out and it turned sweltering hot quickly. We watched the rest of the individual events then headed over to the VIP lounge to cool off and find some grub. The lounge overlooked the athletes tents and we had great seats to watch them warming up. The VIP lounge was suppsed to be a bar and restaurant that we could stop in and grab some food. We found out, after getting up there that it doesn’t open until 5 and pretty sure the restaurant was even planning on serving food today. Fail #2. Next stop… team event #2.
Now this event was a brutal one – 4 minutes to team total 2 rep max front squats followed by a series of holds and movements in pairs (1 partner rows 750 while the other hold a heavy front rack position, part 2: 1 partner does burpees (50), while the other holds a moderately heavy bar overhead, and part 3: 1 partner does 50 thrusters while the other holds the top of the dip position) 3 groups of partners for each team have to make it through this series and each partner can switch off as needed. The teams were prepared and flowed effortlessly through the max rep front squats. You could see each teams strategy and the practice they put into the transitions. The 2nd part knocked a lot of individuals on their asses… literally. The front rack position is tiring regardless, but getting 145 lbs (for girls) from the floor to position found to be trying for several athletes. Several would find themselves half way under the bar, one end of the bar significantly higher than the other, wobbly and unstable, only to end up falling down and kicking the bar off of them on the way down. Again, the crowd continued to show it’s support for those who struggled by cheering them on the loudest. This is a crowd full of crossfitters.. Individuals who have found themselves at the mercy of the weights or their muscles ability… Knowing what it is like to not give up, give it one more try and push the body beyond what it has been trained and prepared to do. The cheers of encouragement are a crossfitters way of saying, “I’ve been there and know how this feels for you. It’s hard. It sucks. It will take every ounce of anything you have in you but you have trained and I know you can do this. I respect you for your efforts and I will willingly give you any of my own energy to push you through this moment.”
After the team events, onto HAPPY HOUR! Back to the VIP lounge. “Look,” Vaughan said as he nudged me… Right in front of us was Coach Glassman, founder of Crossfit. Wow.. Now there’s someone every crossfit loves. Because of his vision and fortitude we are all a little better.. This is where I used my “we are on our honeymoon” card for the first time. What? I wanted a picture with him. What a super nice man. He’s practically Santa Claus at this event and has the attitude of the jolly guy as well. So appreciative of everyone there and willing to shake a hand, take a picture or carry on a conversation…
On to the opening ceremonies and final individual events. The opening ceremonies were pretty great. Introducing all of the masters, teams and individuals, followed by past years winner. Then the guys first heat came out with their judges and the marines lines up for the singing of the anthem. On the final note two fighter jets flew over the top of the stadium which signaled the start of the first heat… Pretty impressive to say the least! And it was on. Guys were lunging a 150lb ball over their shoulders 8 times, carrying it 100 feet, completing 7 parallette handstand pushups then carrying the ball back, 3 times. The first heat was fun to watch but nothing too exciting. The second heat was where the action was… Jason Khalipa was in lane 1 and the person to watch. A crowd favorite and definitely my favorite! He took the first round by stormed and blew past every other competitor. The second round was almost just as impressive. Starting his third round, we all thought he’s go this in the bag, no one can catch him…. Then the handstand pushups. The first 2 reps were fairly easily. Rep 3 and 4 he began to struggle. The crowd starting audibly counting out his reps… Then he got to rep 7, his final rep… And failed. And kept failing. After each attempt the crowd kept getting louder. By the 5th attempt, everyone was on their feet. 3 other competitors had now passed him. Cheering as loud as we all could, some people would find theirselves holding their breathe each time he struggled to get that last pushup locked out. He never looked discouraged, just determined. He was going to get his last rep and when he finally did, everyone went nuts! He threw that ball back on his shoulder and moved as fast as he could to the finish line. He didn’t place well in that WOD, but you would have though otherwise by how crazy everyone was cheering.
Vaughan’s knee was really starting to bother him at this point. We decided to head back to the hotel and watch the final guys and girls heat on TV. Iceland Annie (our favorite girl) sinched up the win for the ladies and Rish Froning couldn’t be touched with the guys. Rich finished this WOD as if he had been training for it for years. He killed the competition and then did what has now come to be expected from Crossfit athletes. He ran back down the stadium and cheer on another competitor, coaching him through his final pushups.
So this is what the games are all about! Competition, support, funny styles and a love for game! What an amazing event to be a part of. Now, off to bed to do it al over again tomorrow.
Our two favorite competitors: Iceland Annie & Jason Khalipa