Heather U. digs deep for some mental toughness to get her through the grueling final workout at the Battle For Quiet Waters CrossFit Competition.
I have written several times about the difference between training, practice and competition. In our group classes and personal training sessions our program focuses on training and practice. However, there is a place and time for competition.
Everyone can benefit from competition. Some people think that competition develops character. I disagree, competition reveals character. You may find that you don't like the pressure of a particular style of competitive environment and that's totally ok. It is through that style of competition that you learned that about yourself.
I recently joined 7 other True Spirit CrossFitters in the very intense Battle for Quiet Waters CrossFit competition. Noah and I partnered to compete in the masters division. We had to work through our fears, doubts, and other emotional struggles to keep a positive frame of mind. Just before the final workout I was afflicted with a migraine aura and was unsure if I should continue. Thankfully Noah uses the same migraine medicine I do and was able to help me out. We then had a heart to heart about wether I should continue. We realized that the final workout did not play to our strengths AT ALL except for the first bit which was a bunch of hang power snatches. After we completed 60 hang power snatches we had to complete 30 toes-to-bar, a movement at which neither of us are proficient. It would have been really easy for me to end the competition for us, I had a legitimate reason because of my migraine aura. However, we both wanted to try toes to bar and realized it would still be fun to continue even if we did one rep at a time. Once the pressure to perform was lifted I felt confident in continuing. We made the competition about our personal goals rather then pressure to perform for anyone else's expectations for us.
The aura went away, I never develop a migraine headache and we actually beat another team by just doing one rep then taking one breath. Our goal was to get through all the toes to bar, which we each had to do one rep at a time. Not only did we get through them all, we got through all the synchronized burpees, then we got through some of the thrusters. By reevaluating our goals for the competition we were able to have fun and make it about something personal (vis a vis working through our fear and doubt.)
Competitions will put you in a head space that you simply can't achieve while in training or practice. Partner competitions are particularly potent at revealing your character. That's why we encourage everyone to try at least one partner competition. One of my favorite partner competitions is the Kitty and Cougar Throwdown, a ladies only on-line competition, and its masculine analog The Roar Throwdown.
Both of these competitions are delivered on-line and performed at our gym. This eliminates the fear of an unfamiliar place, or of being watched by a bunch of strangers, or of whatever story you tell yourself of why you can't compete in CrossFit.
The workouts are released ahead of time so you and your partner have time to make a game plan. There are 2 variations of every workout, so you can choose the level that's appropriate for you. There's also a spirit competition based on photos of you and your partner. Want to dress up in a crazy costume? You can! Do you have the best mid-workout face ever (GLEE YOU DO!) take a photo and submit it.
We will make special gym times available for anyone competing in Kitty and Cougar or The Roar. The Throwdowns begin on August 30. All you need to do is be brave and stake the first step. Remember, the only time you can be brave is when you're afraid. Both must exist. Let's do this! Good luck!
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