Gone To The CrossFit Games

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"Be patient. Your fitness level is something that is going to generally take a long time to get to where you think you want it. And when you are there, you will want it higher. Don’t define yourself by your numbers and your times. Define yourself by who you are and what you are about. CrossFit is something that you do, it is not who you are. That can help keep things in good perspective."
Chris Spealler

The CrossFit Games is a three day event that is the culmination of a multi-staged journey to find the fittest on the planet. The first three years, the event took place on a ranch in Aromas, CA, not far from Watsonville. Because of the growth of CrossFit, the event moved to the Home Depot Center in Carson last year. The first two years were open to anyone that wanted to show up, but now it's a long trek to qualify.
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It started in March with the CrossFit Open, which was a six week/six workout contest open to anyone that wanted to enter. People all over the world could either have their scores verified by a CrossFit affiliate, or they could video record themselves and submit them via the internet. Over 26,000 people competed in the Open, making it one of the largest sporting events in history.

From here, the top 60 athletes in the individual competition, designated by predetermined regions, moved on to Regional competitions. Not long ago, I went to the
Northern California Regional. Two of my favorite athletes, Jason Khalipa and Annie Sakamoto, did very well there. A certain number of slots depending on the region are then invited to go to the final event.

The final competition started today with a pretty brutal first workout at 7am for the men and 8am for the woman. The athletes were told they were going to
Santa Monica Beach very early in the morning for this workout:

Swim 210m in the ocean
Run 1500m in soft sand
50 chest-to-bar pull-ups
100 push-ups
200 squats
Run 1500m in soft sand

Two of my favorites were knocked out of the competition because of this workout, bad ass strongman
Rob Orlando, who said he felt like he was sinking during the swim, and 2009 champion Mikko Salo, who burst an eardrum in the water, lost control of his faculties and still completed the workout essentially blind.
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J and I were flying down in the morning, so we knew we were going to miss this and the next event which was a very different test of fitness. This took place on the track.

Max L-sit for time (1 attempt)
Max distance Softball throw (2 attempts)
Max distance Handstand walk (1 attempt with 1 mulligan if less than 5 yards)

Miranda Oldroyd demonstates the L-sit.
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The last workout of the day was definitely more conventional by CrossFit standards.

For time:
15 foot Rope climb, 5 ascents
145/115 pound Clean and jerk, 5 reps
15 foot Rope climb, 4 ascents
165/125 pound Clean and jerk, 4 reps
15 foot Rope climb, 3 ascents
185/135 pound Clean and jerk, 3 reps
15 foot Rope climb, 2 ascents
205/145 pound Clean and jerk, 2 reps
15 foot Rope climb, 1 ascent
225/155 pound Clean and jerk, 1 rep

As the sun was beginning to set, there was an opening ceremony with the athletes marching out to the stadium by region. When Norcal came up, J's favorite,
Annie Sakamoto had a huge smile.
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This was followed by the national anthem. As soon as the Star Spangled Banner ended, it was "3, 2, 1... GO!"

The women's heats were first, and a handful of our favorites were so impressive.
Shana Alverson, who is has a huge following, cleaned and jerked the weight with no problem in the first round.
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Annie Sakamoto was so awesome on both the rope climbs and the clean and jerks.
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Since last year, the top two spots in the Games have belonged to two women,
Kristan Clever and Annie Thorisdottir. Even in the Open, they tied for first, so of course, they were set to battle right next to each other in the final heat for the women. (Annie T would go on to win this event.)
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On the men's side, my hero Chris Spealler was amazing as usual.
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Rich Froning Jr., who lost a ton of points last year because he didn't know how to do leg wraps for rope climbs, did not have that problem at all this year.
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It was so much fun cheering for our favorite athletes, but it was just as fun to cheer the ones that were struggling to get that last rep. I believe that is the true power of the CrossFit community. Everyone in that stadium knows what it's like to be on the edge of their physical threshold. People cheer just as loud if not louder for the last place person than they do for the one that wins.

It's amazing. It's inspirational. It's a whole lot of fun! And that's just day 1!
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