I’m going to do my best to walk everyone through the experience that the team and I had at the Games.
The athletes briefing at 7am on Friday morning was fairly uneventful. It was grey and muggy out. When I had gotten off of the plane Thursday afternoon they were calling it tropical storm conditions. It was time to head down to the warmup area because we were in the first heat. Normally this is where the lower ranked teams start but they decided to mix up the teams which was phenomenal because we had strong teams to compete against. Diablo, a NorCal standout, was in our heat.
I bring this up as a sidebar because it will be a constant theme. The relationship of the NorCal teams was and is one that you will see nowhere else. If a team member from a NorCal team is hanging out or chatting with their team and they are doing it with another NorCal team. The respect and admiration that we all have for each other is through the roof but more than that they are some great people.
The team had all bought cleats the night before, as did all of the the other teams, and this proved crucial. The only kink was the changing of shoes after the run. I think the team felt pretty good about the relay but we had to be realistic. We are a fairly large team and we can move heavy shit for time with the best of them, but this was a huge unknown. As they began announcing the teams in our heat, the sky opened up with pretty steady rainfall. It was still hot and humid as hell. I had a taken a position on the far side of the track that was at about the 250m mark from where they were starting. Nicki was our first runner, and she kept a steady pace keeping us in sight of the teams ahead of us. Next up was Jess who is the first to admit that she isn’t a great runner but is better at shorter distances which she proved here. She passed a couple of other teams before tagging Lisa who took off like a shot and immediately passed a couple of more teams and put us into second place tied with Diablo and right behind Hack’s Pack. The crowd was somewhat light in the stadium because of a screw up at the front gate but it was getting louder and louder. Danny was up next and like Jess he doesn’t love to run, but he kept us within 20m of the leader before handing off to Marcus. By now it was a three team race and Marcus kept it very close. He ran shoulder to shoulder with Ben Wise of Diablo, son of our own Mike Wise, until the very end. Marcus tagged off to Yago with us in third but only about ten meters back. Yago took off after Diablo’s final runner and by now Bomb Squad had entered the picture as Hack’s Pack fell off. Yags sprinted in, securing third place at 6:33. We had no idea if that time was good or not because we were in the first heat. Yago had to run 100m back to where the rest of the team waited by the sled and change his shoes with just a few minutes of rest.
At this point there was no idea of who was going to do well on the sled. Was it going to be about the placement of teammates? Was it going to be strong teams, fast teams? This was what I loved about the whole weekend, completely level playing field. At the start of the sled, Diablo came out on fire. The rain was coming down pretty hard at this point so the footing might come in to play. We were middle of the pack until about the 50 yard line and then everyone stopped, except for us. The team just kept going.
In 2009 at the Regional in Irvine we had a final workout that we had to do really well in to qualify. It was a combo log carry and squat and tire flip of 100m. There was no way of knowing who would do well in that one either. At about 50m of the tire flip was were starting to pull away. At 75m we were kicking ass. We ended up in second place for that workout and we qualified for the games. I bring this up because the team all said the same thing to me that the team said in 2009. “I looked over and there was nobody next to us.” That’s exactly what happened on Friday. Almost collectively they looked to their right and nobody was there. They were the only team out of 40 to never stop pushing the sled for all 100 yards.
The team laid around the track for a LONG time, since it had been such a huge effort. I kept saying the times in my head so I wouldn’t forget. 6:33 and 3:15. We were currently third for the run and first for the sled. I watched the second heat live. Hmmm. Nobody beat us on the run. Still in third. Then I watched the sled. Nobody finished within a minute of us. Hmmm, still in first. Two more heats to go so I headed down to the athlete tent to watch the final two heats. Third heat, nobody beats us either. Crap, did I get the times wrong in my head? There was terrible internet connection and the TV’s didn’t have sound so I couldn’t figure out what was happening for sure. After the final heat is was official. We had come in 5th on the run and 1st on the sled. The team who didn’t qualify and was just happy to be here. The team that was playing with the house’s money was also the team in first place so far.
See the video of our heat here. Unfortunately the announcers called us every team name except ours.
After a couple of hours rest it was time to hear about the next event. I missed the athlete briefing but got the gist. It was exactly as they told us, except everything was being done with an axle. An axle is a fat barbell that has no rotation. It makes Olympic lifting movement rather….awkward. The workout opened with the max double front squat and this had our confidence high. The team was feeling the energy shift. This was no longer about playing with the house’s money. They could actually make a little noise around this place. Sure enough everyone came out and crushed their squats with Yago and Jess doing even better than expected. We had no idea where this put us but we were now in the final heat so the numbers were there for us to see. The workout just a few minutes after the squats was brutal. It was hot and humid as hell. When it was over the team felt disappointed. I tried to impress upon them that there shouldn’t put any pressure on themselves but they felt like they didn’t perform as well as they should have. I expected there to be some reality that we would drop fairly significantly in the standings. I hadn’t seen any of the earlier heats so I was unsure of where we stood. I asked Evan , Hamilton and Cory who were keeping score with feeling and experience. They weren’t too worried. By the time I got back to the tent the scores were in. We were going into day 2 in third place. We only moved two places.
Tomorrow: Ropes, Chipper and the Coach’s Run from Hell
A. 30sec @ 85%/30sec @ 50%; 20sets; run/bike/row
B1. 5-7 Pull Ups; tough; rest 20sec
B2. 12-15 KBS; tough; rest 20sec
B3. 21 Sit Ups AFAP; rest 1min
Out of Town WOD
B1. 5-7 Pull Ups; tough; rest 20sec
B2.30 seconds of Squats as fast as possible.
B3. 21 Sit Ups AFAP; rest 1min
Episode 03: New Concept, and Homework....