Monday, August 10, 2009

08-10-09 Monday Week 27

Post-sledge-hammer/row wod at The Games. I swear I was there for 10 minutes.

This photo pretty much sums up how I feel/felt about everything. I know a lot of people have been wanting me to do a post about my experience, and I haven't wanted to do it at all. Distance is what I've needed and I had to give myself permission to take it. Training for the Games was a selfish undertaking - necessarily so - but I've used the last 4 weeks to reconnect with the people in my life that supported me in the endeavor. As a coach, I pride myself on my relationships with people in my gym and losing touch with them, while necessary, was difficult.

I've also been just completely emotionally exhausted. Resting is difficult for an active person. I only took about a week of rest from working out - but I needed to just rest that part of me that has been in overdrive for the last 6 months. Yep. SIX MONTHS. Twenty-something weeks. I told several people that now I understand why they only have the Olympics every 4 years. And it really has taken me these last 3 weeks to start feeling normal again. I was pretty depressed and just all out exhausted.

I've been asked a bunch of times if I thought I was going to do it again next year. I honestly don't know. I'm proud that I qualified this year, I'm proud that I finished Day 1 to the best of my ability and I'm proud of my final 25th place. Had I planned the event, I might have done some things differently, but ultimately, I signed up for something unknown - and that's what I got. On one hand, I would have loved the opportunity to have a go at the Chipper WOD, or the handstand pushups, but then on the other hand, I was relieved to be able to rest after 5 events on Day 1.

The 7.1 K mountain climb was more mental than anything else. It was dusty and there was very little solid footing on the hills - it was more like trying to climb a sand dune. At one point the hill was so steep we were all crawling up -- then sliding back down. The worst part was they kept saying, "You're in the home stretch" and then they'd send you for another mile! I'd start really pushing it, thinking I was close to the end, just to find I had to keep going. Many of the athletes cheered each other on throughout the race - it almost brought tears to my eyes. I finished 32nd.

The deadlifts weren't so bad. At least it didn't last very long for me. My PR deadlift going in was 270. We started at 185 and the lift got 10 lbs heavier every 30 seconds. 265 went up, 275 did not. I finsished in 42nd place.

We had no idea after events how much time before the next one started. They'd have to post scores from the previous event to put us heats for the next event. They told us to stay close to the "barn" where they sorted the athletes every time. Only athletes were supposed to be in the barn - so if someone had your food, you had to go find them. The "barn was a big slab of covered concrete. There were a few folding chairs and some bottled water, but other than that, nothing that even resembled comfort or recovery. I kept making my way halfway up the hill where the specatators were to the Dyson's tent and trying to crash on Donna's massage table.

The sandbag sprint uphill was the turning point of the day for me mentally. I told myself "just keep running no matter what" -- well about 80% of the way up the hill, I think my legs stopped receiving messages from my brain. I felt like I was dragging them along behind me. Collapsed over the finish line in a heap in some prickly straw. Spencer had to help me down the hill. I tearfully told Jonathan I wanted to go home. As soon as I got my hands on some food they called us for the next event. Found out I was in 28th place overall after placing 23rd in that event.

Next event was the row/sledgehammer/row workout. Prior to that event, I had never hit anything with a sledgehammer - I had only gotten advice about how to handle it from a few people. I rowed my ass off and finished 15th in the event to bump me into 27th place overall. At this point in the day, the organizers had still not decided on a rep scheme for the final event of the day but we knew it would be high reps of wall ball shots and hang squat snatches with 45 lbs.

They called us back to the barn - we had arrived at the Ranch for a competitor briefing at 7AM ... my last heat was starting around 7:30PM (I think - my brain really wasn't functioning very well at this point.) They told us we had to do 3 rounds of 30 wall balls and 30 "hang" squat snatch. Their definition of hang was taking the bar to mid-shin so the judges could clearly see it was below the knee. They gave us a 20 minute time limit. At just under 5'4", the wall balls to approximately 11' whilst standing on a slight uphill slope felt SO impossible. I had only hit the target once by the time I got to my 4th attempt at the first set of them. I finished in 18:25, which was only good enough for 25th place in the event and 25th place overall. The Games were over for me.

We left before the last heats were finished and went out for Thai food. The next day it was back to the Ranch for a little while, I'm not much of a spectator so we left around 3PM and got Mexican food. Then it was back to the hotel for a nap and packing - we had to get up at 3:30AM to make our 7AM flight out of San Francisco - no idea what I was thinking booking that flight.

How do I feel after the fact....? Good question. Lots of things. I won't list them all here, they are way to complex. Most of all, I feel SO incredibly and unbelievably grateful for the support of all the people around me and all the people who so faithfully followed this blog and emailed me to tell me good luck and that they were pulling for me. I am still amazed how many people that introduced themselves to me and said they followed my blog. I think that is the greatest thing I took away from the whole experience of training for and competing in the Games; the sense of being richly blessed in community. I never would have made it without all of you. Shakespeare said it best, "I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks."


Sven said...

Thanks for summoning everything up.
Wow..6 months since that innocent e mail "I think I want to try to qualify for The Games".
I am very proud and honored that you asked me to help you out initially.
I am disappointed in myself for not being able to follow through properly and support you as I needed to. However I am incredibly proud of you for doing this. It's hard! Yes people, it's not a walk in the park. You have to put out... a lot!
I should have prepared you more for the mental aspect. I know how I felt after the Games last year so I should have shared this with you, and maybe that could have helped, but I know there where more issues at hand also.
Ok I will not take up more space here....
Shana, you rock! Pink hair and all :)

Sydney Longshore said...

Wow Shana! Sounds like it was SO hard physically and mentally! I am moved by your story. Thanks for sharing this with us and congratulations on your incredible accomplishment! You rock!

jenna said...


I completely agree. I am so physically and mentally exhausted, I haven't even updated my blog in a month. I think I'll do that today.

I had the same experience as you did on the sandbag run. For me, the highlight was the 7.1k trail run, but that's kind of what I do up here in Montana. I think you did fabulous - 25th is awesome. I completely gave up and didn't even finish the last WOD. I think I cried for 2 of the 3 rounds. I was just exhausted, and so far behind that I felt like it didn't even matter how I did. Way to push through and finish that last WOD.

Anyway, it was great to meet you and I hope to see you again sometime!


Shana A. said...

Thanks, you guys!

Sven, no more "should haves" ... you were awesome. I couldn't have done without you. I probably wouldn't have! Plus, I wouldn't have known about the Strength Bias!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am really impressed! I went to school with your sister so to see what kind of awesome fitness level can be reached by a real person (vs someone I see on the TV or in a magazine that I just believe must be some kinda computer animation) from crossfit is so bad ass.

Errr so as a guy, are all the male crossfitter physiques I see running around on various pages for real? I know they have been doing this for some time now, but is that the kinda form one can look forward to in the long run?

Did you get your awesome physique from crossfit alone or are you hiding something? :)

I am sure you get this all the time at you gym, but after lurking around this blog for a bit and seeing what is possible if someone is really driven and willing to put in the work, might be time for some crossfit!