Karen L. and Martin H. signed up for a co-ed partner masters competition that was held at Crossfit Diablo in Pleasant Hill last Saturday. This is their story.
Friday: Day Prior To Competition
9:00am – Karen goes to the gym to “work on a few things”. She drops 100kg on her foot and swears continuously for the next 15 minutes.
12:30pm – Karen goes to the doctor to get her foot x-rayed. Luckily it’s just a bad bone bruise. Karen goes directly to the store and stocks up on ice.
4:00pm – Martin goes to The Cantina with Chad L., Ehren H. and Chris W. for drink, not because he enjoys their company, but because Chad is buying.
7:00pm – Martin dresses up as a cowboy and drinks too many martinis.
Saturday: Day of Competition
4:20am – Karen wakes up, feeds the chickens and does her usual morning routine of 30 minutes on the elliptical and some “secret exercises” in the basement. Rich rolls over and continues sleeping.
5:00am – Martin’s alarm clock goes off. He cooks up his usual breakfast of bacon, eggs and avocado and chases it down with a glass of full cream milk. Thayer rolls overs and continues sleeping.
6:00am – Martin picks up Karen who, unpredictably, did not seem nervous at all. On the drive over, we go over the two published WODs for the third or fourth time. We take comfort in the fact that both us are confident that we can do all of the movements on the list (save the rope climb, Karen L.’s elbow is still a mess). As we will find out later, what we don’t know won’t intimidate us.
7:00am – We register our team at Crossfit Diablo in Pleasant Hill. The facility is massive, there is equipment everywhere and the atmosphere would be intimidating except that the people are so friendly. We are still scared. It is cold outside. Our palms are sweating.
7:30am – We attend the athlete briefing and are told the movement standards. There are three heats for each of the two known WODs for our age group (40-47). We are in the third heat so we will have time to watch the first heat and then warm up during the second. We have some time to kill, so we talk to some of our fellow competitors.
9:30am – WOD #1
4 minutes to establish 3 rep max axle deadlift
Then, after 1 minute of transition time, in the next 10 minutes:
(a) Row 1,000m while partner is hanging from a pullup bar
(b) With time remaining, AMRAP:
(i) 80 double unders
(ii) 20 toes-to-bar
(iii) 20 partner burpees
Then, after 1 minute of transition time:
Unknown distance partner run
Axle deadlifts are just weird. We had to use a double overhand grip and because the bar kept rolling out of our hands we could barely manage to lift 60% of our 1RM regular deadlift. We each had 3-4 attempts in the allotted 4 minutes and although we did not know it then, we scored in the bottom quartile for this part of WOD #1. The 10 minute AMRAP was really business as usual, with Martin scaring everyone with his slow start on the double unders (it took him 15 seconds and 3 restarts to get his first rep). Despite her nagging Achilles injury, Karen rocked the double unders and the burpees. The run was an out-and-back affair and we had to run it holding each end of a jump rope. Dropping the jump rope would result in a 10 burpee penalty. The wrinkle was that we did not know exactly how far we had to run (we were told that it was less than a mile); when we got there we would see yellow tags hanging up in a tree, one of which we had to grab and then retrace our steps back to the finish line. Karen started out really fast on the run and Martin was being dragged along at the other end of the jump rope, just trying not to trip over. However at the turnaround point we lost all of our 50 yard lead by getting confused and running past the yellow tags, allowing the second and third teams to catch up. Fortunately, Team KarMa still had some gas in the tank and broke away in the second half to win the heat by 50 yards.
After WOD #1, Team KarMa was in 3rd place overall. The axle deadlift (13th) and run (1st) counted for half-points and the 10 minute AMRAP for a full point (3rd). We are thankful that we are not last. Since this was our first ever CrossFit competition, no-one knew who we were, but now people were starting to ask us “what box are you from?” “where in Marin is your box?”
11:40am – Karen drops a 25lb DB on her foot while warming up her weighted pullups. She drops it in the exact same spot as the day before and lets out a scream that can be heard back in Marin. It really hurts but fortunately despite Karen’s best efforts, it is still not broken. She is limping now, but luckily there is no more running!
12:10pm – WOD #2
3 minutes AMRAP of weighted pullups (45/25lb DB)
Immediately followed by a 10 minute AMRAP:
3 DB deadlifts (45/25lb DB)
3 DB hang squat cleans
3 DB front squats
3 DB shoulder-to-overhead
20 partner box jumps
Karen’s 1RM weighted pullup is right around 25lb and she was able to knock out her 1RM 3 times in the 3 minutes! The DB complex had to be performed by Martin first while Karen held a 45lb plate and then we switched places. Karen was a machine on the DB complex, with great speed and full ROM on every rep. Martin was slightly slower relative to the other men and was never no-repped, but was told to “get lower” a handful of times. We made up some time lost in the DB complex in the partner box jumps. We were jumping onto the same box while facing each other and we adopted a strategy of minimal transition time which meant trying to jump up on to the box to knock the other person off. It seemed to work.
After WOD #2, Team KarMa was 2nd place overall. The weighted pullups counted for a half-point (5th) and the DB complex counted for a full point (2nd). We are a bit surprised that we are still doing so well.
1:00pm – After WOD #2, ten teams (including us!) made the cut and the Final WOD was announced. We knew it was going to have rope climbs as that was one of the required movements to enter the competition. However, Karen was a little taken aback when it was revealed that there would be HSPUs and muscle-ups too! She would never have entered this competition if she had known ahead of time. But now we made the final and there is no going back!
1:30pm – Rich arrives in time to cheer us on in the final. He brought a camera, so there are pictures!
2:00pm – Final WOD
5 rope climbs
Immediately followed by 4RFT:
15 clean and jerks (135/115lb)
20 KB swings (53/35lb)
Then, after 20 minutes has elapsed:
3 minute AMRAP of muscle-ups
Despite all the pre-WOD hand-wringing, the rope climb was a non-issue and we came off the rope only seconds behind two other teams. Martin got onto the wall and did the HSPUs (lucky for the team that he had been working on these for the past year or so, phew!) and then Karen blasted out the majority of the clean and jerks with a brief respite in the middle of each round when Martin stepped in for a few reps. Then there were muscle-ups. Enough said.
So, at the end of the day Team KarMa made the podium, finishing in 3rd place. We placed 4th in the rope climb/4RFT, which counted for 1.5 points and we came 2nd in the muscle-ups, which counted for a half point. We were happy with our effort and had a lot of fun. We found out after the award ceremony that the teams that placed first and second both had Games athletes on them, and we were beaten into third by just one solitary point! Despite the fact that Karen and Martin rarely workout together, we believe that we did so well because we were able to strategize around our individual strengths and were constantly communicating with each other during each of the WODs to minimize non-working time.
Many thanks to our spouses (Thayer and Rich) who took up the slack so that we could be at the event, to all those who sent texts and emails throughout the day, to Bo for his programming and to our regular workout partners who push us every day (Ashley R., Shari M., Ehren and Mark A.)!!!
TLDR; we finished third, we had a great time, we would do it again.