Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011 Games

After coming back from the 2011 Crossfit Games out in Carson, California it's hard for me to believe that anyone present at this years games including the athletes, vendors, spectators, judges and volunteers wouldn't want to return year after year. This sport is amazing and it's only going to get better.

I knew nothing about crossfit before 2010 but with my recent infatuation and obsession with the sport, its not hard to see the kind of progress and incredible attention that it has gained over the past few years. Looking back on some footage from 2008, 09 and even last year and hearing some of the veteran athletes talk about previous games, its pretty clear to say that the crossfit games have completely evolved within a remarkably short period of time...and this is simply from the outsider viewing in.

It was truly an overwhelming experience. From showing up several days in advance only to have Dave Lipson greet you at athlete check in to receiving 20lbs of gear from Reebok which included personalized attire, shoes, sweatshirts and even sweet ass compression calve sleeves that I happen to be wearing as we speak. Why, because they're awesome.

Those first few days really gave me the chance to teeny bop on all the crossfit celebrities before shit got real and man did I seize the opportunity. I think I went up to every athlete and called them by name, sadly they did not know mine, but that was where I simply told it to them and by the weekends end I was certainly the most popular crossfitter inside the Home Depot Center. Fact.

The events prior to the first "real event" on Friday that were set up for the athletes were almost as sweet as a 210m open water swim. Tuesday night we all gathered at the Marriot ballroom to have a special dinner that included only the individual athletes and the HQ staff. The buffet consisted of possibly the healthiest selection of foods possible. But I mean really, what are you going to feed 100 of the fittest athletes in the world? Suprisingly though, there were blue cheese crumbles that Spencer Hendel seemed to be devouring. I followed in hopes of equating a similar food selection with a similar performance that weekend. I was wrong. Dude is not human. Period.

As the night continued, Dave Castro spoke and recollected on the past games speaking briefly but specifically on each of the individual champions and we all had the opportunity to stand up and introduce ourselves considering we'd be spending most of the next week together. I stood up and said that it was my first games and that it was a privilege to be able to compete this weekend with the world's greatest athletes. It really was incredible to be in the same room with the type of athletes that were present. Everyone was so nice and so cool, very down to earth and real like J Lo.

Wednesday and Thursday were a bit more formal and consisted of some decently long hours spent at the Home Depot Center going over some prerequisites to the competition like standards, movements, a swim test and some cool media interviews. Before you knew it, Friday had come and the 2011 Crossfit Games had truly begun.

The events were extremely unique and ingeniously programmed. Just looking back at some of the workouts from the previous games, it seemed like the programming continued to evolve along with everything else. This year, workouts consisted of a higher technicality of skills and play intertwined within traditional style crossfit workouts making for 10 very uniquely varied WODS. From open water swims to sand runs to handstand walks, L-sits, softball throws, rope climbs, monkey bars and farmers carries, to say that the Crossfit Games was searching for the most athletic along with the world's fittest would be a statement not far from the truth. It was quite an experience to just observe the way some of these athletes went about their preparatory routines and pre-workout rituals. Superstitions wouldn't be the right word, but rather a simple warm-up routine that you could tell had been repeated over and over again in which would best prepare the athlete for success in whatever unknown lied ahead.

You'd be surprised how much technique and strategy went into some of the movements. With the announcement of the workouts literally an hour before the first heat began, it left little time for any true strategy to take place, so you saw a lot of guys feeding off one anothers tactics within their individual heats as well as exchanging practical advice that would assist in their own upcoming heats. That is why you can't beat this sport. Never will you see in any other sport, the type of camaraderie and companionship like that found in crossfit. Guys completing workouts high five-ing one's that are on their way to finishing, guys staying on the field after finishing cheering on the other competitors as they do the same, hugs, handshakes, exchanging of techniques and strategies. The competition is really only a small aspect of what Crossfit is as a big picture. It's meaning goes beyond fitness.

Last but not least, my support crew, my fam and my friends that came out to support me while I put my fitness to the test. They knew how much it meant to me to be there and they knew it meant just as much to have each and every one of them there in my corner. I wouldn't want anyone else there to share the experience with (except 1 who couldn't make it out, you know who you are!) and I certainly wouldn't want anyone else there to watch me punish my body like I did all weekend. You guys know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support, encouragement and sheer presence of being. Sometimes support can be overlooked and taken for granted but not here. I want all you guys to know that everything you do is appreciated and it's the relationships developed with people like you that make life's accomplishments more enjoyable.

Overall, an unbelievable experience. I certainly learned a lot and can take that with me into 2012. I can't speak for everyone but it's an honor and a true privilege to compete at that level, the money's not what it's about. It's amazing being out there in that atmosphere because you realize you never want to miss an opportunity of getting back. Makes you hungry...real hungry. Until next time folks.