I apologize for the three week hiatus. I’ve been busy preparing for the Reebok Crossfit Regionals and then getting data and experiments ready for a month of conferences (and grant writing) starting next Saturday. This year, I made the commitment to compete as an individual over team. While I find team competition to be more mentally challenging, from the pressure of not being the “weakest link” to communicating with others and not “zoning” out when you are at peak exhaustion, training to compete as an individual is significantly more physically demanding. You are almost doing as much work as one person and at a heavier weight as an entire team of six. I was looking forward to the “gymnasty” events of this Regionals until some really painful rotator cuff impingement set in. Fortunately, my shoulder and pectoral muscles made it through the weekend, and I learned about an amazing, safe, and drug-free supplement in the process; lu rong derived from the middle layer of the deer antler. It stimulates the release of growth hormone via estradiol thereby accelerating joint and tissue repair.
The three-day competition began with a hang (above the knee) squat snatch immediately followed by a handstand walk for distance. I was very pleased about hang squat snatching as much as full snatching and making it across the entire stadium floor for the handstand walk.
The afternoon workout on Friday was a heavier and more technically challenging version of Nasty Girls which is one of the first workouts created by Crossfit founder Greg Glassman almost ten years ago. It was fun as much as it was painful.
The second day was the most exciting day of competition. I moved up from the slowest heat to the second fastest heat on day one, and spent the entire second day of competition neck-and-neck with my teammate and long time training partner, Sonya Mac and SAV training partner, Krista Owens. Crossfit Terminus, our gym, was definitely the talk of the day.
Many strict handstand push-ups (@56:52 in video #1) and legless rope climbs later (@7:32:06 in video #2), the Crossfit Terminus and Squat Mafia ladies were all sitting in the top 20 with teammate Emily Bridgers leading the region. She dominated every workout, totally sweeping the competition.
The last day began with a grueling, long workout totaling 450 reps. We did a mini-version of it prior to competition and I crawled off the rower. While no woman in our region or the world would go on to finish it, I paced it nicely and finished top three in my heat (@5:53:00 in video #3). With one workout remaining that would go less than an hour later though, my central nervous system decided that it needed some rest.
Muscular fatigue is easier to overcome than neurological fatigue. Usually, the liver and pancreas coupled with protein- and carb-based supplements can replenish sugar, fat, and creatine stores to muscle tissue within a short period of time. With neurological fatigue, however, the recovery can sometimes take days. Obviously, motor neurons must work in order for muscles to contract, extend, and move quickly and your Golgi tendon organs that help stabilize limbs in space and time must be on point as well. Well, my CNS decided that it had enough by the time that I went to pick up a bar that weighted almost as much as me and thrust it over my head to do eight overhead squats after 60+ pull-ups.
I left the competition floor with immediate disappointment and frustration, but about twenty minutes after I threw my weight belt against the wall and kicked an imaginary object, I watched my teammate Emily Bridgers accomplish something she had been hungry and yet patient for across four years: winning the Southeast Regionals and qualifying for the Crossfit Games! It was such an emotional moment for all of us at the gym–teammates, coaches, and gym members–as much as it was for her. Until the Games which will be broadcasted on ESPN in July, the Terminus crew looks forward to pushing Em any way we can to get that podium spot. She’s a fierce one, watch out!