Gone To A CrossFit Regional Competition

"You can't do these workouts unless you're driven by purpose. Purpose is ultimately the well spring of all happiness."
Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit

This marks the fifth year there has been a CrossFit Games, a competition to find the best CrossFit, and possibly overall, athlete in the world.  In 2007, it started very modestly on a ranch in Aromas, a small town near Watsonville, and now, it’s exploded into a multi-million dollar competition that spans across the world and has major corporate sponsorship from Reebok. 

Every year the format of the CrossFit Games has changed, based on their growing popularity, their desire to make it accessible to everyone, and their preference to keep their model of the event unknown and unknowable.

In the first year, they held a competition for those that wanted to come.  Last year, they held small sectionals and based on the results there, there were larger regional competitions.  This year’s Crossfit Games brought a totally different element.  Instead of sectionals, there was a six-week CrossFit Open, where anyone could enter no matter where they were located.  There was a workout of the week that could either be done at a local affiliate, like
San Francisco CrossFit, or could be video recorded, uploaded, and submitted to the Games website.

After the scores are tallied, the top 60 from each region in men, women, and team categories come to their local regional competition.  The one for Northern California was held this weekend in San Jose at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

Of course, who knew that as long as there have been records recorded for weather in the Bay Area, there has never been as much rain in the month of June as there was today.  The events scheduled for today were two workouts in three categories (team, women, and men).  The first workout was:

21-15-9 reps for time of:
315 pound Deadlift (205 pound for women)
30" Box jump (24” for women)

By the time I had arrived, I missed the first team heat, but I was there before the start of heat 2.  The setup for the workouts was pretty cool.  They had all the bars in two rows and boxes next to them.  Rogue Fitness was a sponsor and the equipment was outstanding.

In the team version of this workout, an affiliate chose two members (one man and one woman) to represent them.  First, the man would complete the workout.  Then, the woman removes the outer plate from the barbell and starts her deadlifts as soon as possible.  The fastest combined time of both members wins.

In the rain, these guys were picking up wet barbells and then jumping on wet wooden boxes.  It was as exciting as it was treacherous.

When the women were tagged in, it wasn’t exactly awesome for them to have to remove the weights themselves.

Later, the rain really started to pick up.  People all around the stadium were clamoring for shelter.

There were three heats for the women.  In heat 2, these women started getting ready.  I love her t-shirt, which heeds the exact command she’s going to have to follow shortly.

One thing I really loved in this competition is that no matter where you place, people are cheering for you.  The last place competitors were being cheered on for their incredible efforts.  In one heat, a girl struggled heavily on the deadlifts, but people were clapping and yelling wildly to help her get through the last part of the event.

Most people that come to these events do CrossFit on a daily basis.  So they understand the pain of the participants.  It makes for a really amazing atmosphere.

I came to root for a few people that I knew had done well on the first day of the competition.  San Francisco CrossFit was sitting in tenth place at the start of the day.

2008 CrossFit Games Champion Jason Khalipa won the men’s heat I watched and finished first overall at the end of the weekend.

Annie Sakamoto, who is like a hero to both me and J, pulled off an impressive performance in this workout as well.  She eventually earned her ticket to the finals by the end of the regional.  How bad ass is she?  There’s a video of her doing pull-ups when she was pregnant here.

The rain eventually chased me away from the event.  My clothes were totally soaked, and I had to drive back up to San Francisco.  The time I spent there was totally worth it and very inspiring.

There is definitely a difference between CrossFit: the training program and CrossFit: the sport.  While I don’t see myself ever competing in the sport of CrossFit, I love the way the sport transfers into inspiration for my own training.  It also creates an interesting and empathetic relationship between spectator and athlete that doesn’t exist in other sports.  I really enjoyed watching the event and a real incredible display of human performance and human perseverance.

3-2-1... GO!

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