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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Iron Belle Challenge 2011

One of my favorite parts about my gym is the amazing community of women. The programs they build for women and the ladies I've met continue to blow me away. Today was the annual Iron Belle Challenge and now, after five months of CrossFit, I have completed my first competition. I haven't competed in anything since high school swim team, and that was more of a way for me to work out and less about winning. I even spent my senior year helping manage the team and never participated in a meet. Over the past month, I had the pleasure of forming a team of three with Courtney, one of the women from my 6pm class, and Kathryn, another woman who attends morning classes at the same gym. None of us really knew each other and it was a great time getting to know each other while prepping for and competing in the challenge. Since we'd all just met, we decided to call ourselves the Perfect Strangers.

Last night after the packet pick up, there was a workshop at the gym about goal setting and strategy during competitions. Courtney, Kathryn and I had a great time talking to each other about our strengths and weaknesses and coming up with a plan to finish strong and have a great time. During the workshop, we did an interesting exercise on communication. The team captains were given a short workout to get their teammates to perform and were sent back to communicate that without speaking. It was chaotic and fun and was definitely a challenge as the team captain.

The Perfect Strangers before the first event
This morning, after a series of unfortunate events, I made it to the check in and found my girls. We spent an hour talking with some of the other teams and working through some nerves. The first event was a 2 mile trail run with two workouts on the trail. At the first stop, your team had to complete 100 12kg KB swings. At the second stop, your team had to complete 100 6lb medicine ball passes and 50 burpees. Both of my teammates are strong runners, so I spent most of the run on my own. I was very happy to complete it with only a few short breaks to walk and catch my breath. In the end, we finished the event with a time of 30:33.

Kathryn owned the deadlift
The second event was a deadlift ladder. There was a row of bars set up starting at 105lbs going up by 10lbs each time and ending with a 200lb bar. If you made it to the 200lb bar, you had 30 seconds to get as many reps as possible. This was completed by one member of your team and Kathryn had the highest deadlift so she represented us in that event. Her PR before the event was 165lbs. It was amazing to cheer her on as she moved up and completed a 200lb deadlift. This event definitely inspired me to stay focused on my strength training.
Reagan rocking the squat cleans

The final event was a team WOD. As a team, we had to complete 3 rounds of 20 15lb DB push press, 20 20" box jumps, 20 55lb squat cleans, 20 pull-ups, and 3 butcher runs. Being in a crowded gym full of amazing athletes yelling and cheering while you work your way through each movement in the WOD was just incredible. We did a great job during this event and had a fun time.

The entire event was incredible, but there are a few moments that will stand out in my mind when I think back to my first competition. First was the feeling of anticipation as we all lined up to go out on the run. As we lined up, we watched the last people come in from the heat before us. Two members of one team were already at the finish line when the third member of their team came around the corner. They ran out to meet her and all ran in to finish as a team. I will definitely remember the look on Kathryn's face when she finished the 200lb deadlift. And last but not least, I will be bottling the sounds of my classmates and friends cheering me on as I finished more of the push press and squat cleans than I ever have. I'll be keeping the hugs I received when the WOD was over and every last drop of love and support and pulling it all out when I start to doubt my ability to conquer my fears.

The 6pm Ladies: Kelly, me, Reagan, Courtney, Lina, Christina, and Jessica

I got to call myself an athlete today. I had a number written on my arm. I was a part of a team. And I did things I would not have thought possible only months ago. Today was a good day.



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  2. Jo, you are amazing and I am so proud of you! You are walking as a champion!

  3. "Good day" is an understatement. After reading about the WODs in Iron Belle and the fact that you completed your first competition after only CF'ing for 5 months, I'd say you had a STELLAR day. You are part of the reason I love CF so much - the community and the support and just doing things that "seem" nearly impossible. I love reading about women doing strong, great things. Congrats to you and your fellow team members!

  4. Thank you! I had such a blast. It's amazing to get this kind of support.

    Ready for the next event!