By Rich L.
This past weekend I participated in the NorCal Masters in Richmond, CA– the largest masters competition in CrossFit. What did I learn?
1. Train hard, knowing that there are folks just like you who may be training harder. Whether you’re training for a physical competition, are participating in the Open or are taking a CF class, the person you are competing against the most is yourself. (Thanks Dallas Broussard) The harder you go the better you will be. Even when I’m training by myself, I’m always remembering the other guys in my age group.
2. Go hard. In a competition, the old saying that every rep counts comes alive. I did better in the workouts where I went harder than I had planned. I didn’t do so well where I stuck to my game plan. And if I went out hard from the beginning, but things didn’t go as planned, I still feel good that I left nothing on the table. So go hard.
3. Enjoy it. This is true whether in a CF class or during a competition. This past weekend when the WODs were adding up, I finally started to enjoy the whole pre-WOD staging of the heat right before the workout. Talking to the other guys in my heat, seeing how everyone got ready, that time when we all wish each other luck and mean it—I realized that there was no place I’d rather be. It’s a real privilege to be with a group of men and women who go out and test themselves, unsure of the results, committed to their best and supportive of each other no matter what the outcome—a competition is an experience unlike no other. That shared connection is worth the discomfort. It’s the community aspect of a CF class multiplied by 10+, but remember that connection whether you are in a class, doing the open or a physical competition.
4. Accept it. Discomfort will be there, especially if you push yourself to go harder. But I’m always a little surprised that no matter how spent I feel, I feel better after a little while. Remembering how fleeting the discomfort can be is the trick, especially when it comes to going harder.
As you may know, I didn’t end up making the podium, tying for third place in a four-way tie at the end of the regular competition –they chose the person who had the most number of first place finishes to go onto the finals, which is fair. So at the end of the competition, I ended up in a three-way tie for fourth. And there was only a 0.9 point difference between 2nd and 3rd place. As Bryan observed, this was the result of a very competitive field or a faulty scoring system.
But more than the results, I learned a lot about going hard, how to enjoy the competition and how the hours of training all matter. My advice is to sign up for the Open, do the workouts after thinking about how you can do your best, and have fun!