One of the reasons I coach is that I love “firsts.” It’s so gratifying to see someone accomplish something for the first time. Really, how many times as an adult do you do something for the first time? Well, I got my own unexpected first this week.
For the first time EVER, I won an athletic competition. Our CrossFit trainer, Alex Janss, issued a challenge to her bootcampers from Aug. 19-Sept. 17. We started out with body measurements and a benchmark workout. We did our bootcamp workouts as well as an additional workout Alex provided each week and kept food logs to help monitor our diet. At the end, the person with the most improved time on the workout and the person with the most inches and highest percentage of body fat lost win. One month later, Alex put us through the paces again.
None of us at the Thursday morning final workout could remember what the benchmark workout entailed, or our times, so we weren’t sure what times we needed to deliver. It actually made the competition more pure as it meant you just gave the workout everything you had. The workout started with our usual warm-up: high-knees, down-low’s, jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, twists, lunges, and punter kicks. Then, the timed workout began:
– .5 mi. run (Austin Rowing Club to Congress and back)
– 25 Med. ball dead lifts
– 25 Med. ball cleans
– 25 box jumps
– 25 push ups
– 25 crunches
– .5 mi. run
First of all, the workout didn’t seem half as challenging as it did the first time. I remember having to stop, drink water and catch my breath during the benchmark. I also was just getting back into running at the initial workout and am certain I made up a lot of time on the run. Lastly, the temperature was probably 20 degrees cooler for the final workout, making it feel easier. Mostly I just felt stronger.
My friend, Erin (from Advanced Rehabilitation), and I were neck and neck throughout the workout, which gave me good incentive to push. When we came in from the final run, Alex gave us our time of 15:56 (we finished together.) While we were on the run, she had looked up the original workout time — 21:10 for me, a 4:54 improvement! Erin had beat her time by 4:45. Fortunately, we didn’t know how close we were ahead of time or we might have killed ourselves (or each other) trying to beat the other!
We knew we had rocked the workout, but needed to wait and see how the other groups did to learn the final winners. When Alex announced that I came in 1st place for workout and 2nd place for body assessment, I was stunned. Me? Really?
I’ve always had a lot of determination, tenacity and mental toughness (that’s why I’m a long-distance runner), but I had never actually WON something athletic. I was floored.
I also had awesome results on the body assessment (as did Erin) losing 9.5 inches overall (that’s from everywhere — both thighs, hips, waist, chest, arms, etc.), but that’s A LOT of inches. It’s a great way to see the tangible results of our workouts/diet even when the scale doesn’t reflect it. In full disclosure, a lot of our competitors fell off during the challenge and didn’t stick with it to the end, but those of us who did had great results.
I am incredibly proud of this unexpected accomplishment. I turned to CrossFit in May as cross-training while I was injured and unable to run. It has become a fun, challenging way for me to continue to improve my core and strength. I love my trainer and the variety of activities she mixes in — making us do exercises like burpees, spiderman push-ups, squats with sprawls and other crazy things I would NEVER do on my own.
I met 3 out of 4 of my goals for the challenge: met 1) reducing my time from benchmark, 2) 3 XF workouts/wk, 3) sticking to diet. The fourth goal was to reduce body fat by 3%. While I didn’t hit the 3% number, I did reduce by 9.5 inches overall, so am clearly on my way to reducing that number. The 5:15 a.m. wake-up calls are definitely worth it!
If you’re interested in trying CrossFit with me one morning, let me know. The soreness is worth it.
P.S. (Congrats to Erin and Michelle, who also came out on top in the challenge.)