I started writing a post before Heart of America, only to completely scrap it because I sounded like an wordy, oversentimental sap. Now here I am on the other side of the competition struggling to find the right words to encompass just how crazy competing for the first time was. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done, and unlike distance running, I’m just a few days out and already looking for more.
In the absence of a better-written, more cohesive post, I thought I’d drop some bullet-like thoughts your way. There was just so much packed into the weekend, and I experienced the event from so many vantage points, that my thoughts are completely scattered, and I don’t even know how to begin organizing them.
The competition itself was far bigger than I ever imagined it would be. I had watched videos from previous HOA events, and while it was bigger than anything we’ve seen in our area, it was still held in a box with a doable amount of organization. This year however, it was massive, held at the Mediacom Ice Park, with two rinks a fully stocked athlete warm-up area, and plenty of vendor space. Attendance far exceeded available seating, so there were crowds everywhere you went.
The teams and level of talent in this competition was surreal. We knew there were regional competitors competing going in, but you don’t really know what they’re like until you are alongside them, or watching them in person, literally just feet away. It’s cliché, but they are superheroes — absolutely extraordinary people.
As you might have noticed, I took very few photos. I am always fighting the urge to “live in blog,” making sure whatever I do was share-worthy and good for a blog post. This time, I left the camera at the hotel and really just soaked everything in. It helped that we were go, go, go the entire time, either doing the WOD, preparing for the WOD or recovering from and watching the other teams do the WOD. I also spent a lot of time creeping on some of the Rx Teams in the athlete area. That was it’s own show altogether.
The WODs themselves were all challenging and extremely well-programmed. If you didn’t catch it on Twitter, I actually passed out during one of them. More mortifying than anything, I think it was a combination of low blood pressure, endometriosis and having done several workouts in the span of 24 hours. In any sense, I passed out while on the pull-up rig and flat-backed on the floor. Neil helped me up and I finished my last rep (seriously had just one pull-up left) so I could tag out. I honestly don’t remember the last pull-up and came to on the floor a minute later. Pretty surreal, but again, more mortifying than anything. Seriously hoping I don’t end up on some CrossFit fail compilation on YouTube.
I loved that the team chose Neil and I to tag-team the Saturday morning WOD. We had a lot of fun with that one and it played to a lot of our strengths. While I wish we could have eeked out a few more rounds, we ended up 29th in the scaled division for that WOD, so it is impossible not to be proud. Neil tacked 3 muscle-ups onto our score, as our CrossFit Fringe family cheered louder than anyone from the stands. I think for Neil, it was for sure his favorite moment.
The Saturday evening WOD was by far the toughest for me — as evidenced by me passing out. I did the racked lunge unbroken, and felt dizzy when I dropped the bar at the end. Not wanting to slow down, I went right into the pull-ups and just got stuck on the last 5 or so, which was when I passed out.
Overall, it was an amazing experience — could not ask for a better organized event and such wonderful people who made it all happen. As someone who works with media/branding/etc, I am completely awestruck by how big the CrossFit community is in Southwest Missouri and how well all the boxes work together and support one another. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish for more sponsorship and support up here, but we continue to grow and we have great role models to look up to in CrossFit Springfield. I hope to drop in there soon, as well as meet-up with some of the great people I met for a workout.
After a full week of rest and only active recovery (which I’m loving by the way)? Well, I’ve definitely been bitten by the bug. Although I don’t know that I would ever do an individual competition, I love doing team events. We brought two great teams to Heart of America and received so many compliments about our bar work and overall enthusiasm for the event. We were genuinely so excited to be there, and we completely fed off one another the entire weekend. I’m excited to do it all over again.
I also love the process of training for an event. It plays to my inner-nerd to tweak and play with different modes of training. On that end, I’ve decided to make the move back to OPT. I’ve been on Outlaw for several months and haven’t been happy with the results, especially as I get into heavier working weights and supplementary work. It feels very linear, and I don’t feel as well-rounded as I did on OPT. I feel OPT has better options for women to work on skills we are typically weaker at, and I feel the overall conditioning made me much more capable than the oly-centric Outlaw.
I’m also going to diversify my routine a bit. I’ve missed yoga since leaving my old gym, so that’s going to come back 1 day a week.
Overall, just looking for good continued healthy development and plenty of fun. Every day I say this can’t get more fulfilling, but it continues to surprise me in the best way possible.
Thank you to the amazing coaches, training partners and family at CrossFit Fringe, as well as my family and friends who traveled to be with us and continue to put up with my ridiculousness in this hobby. Speaking of ridiculousness, how about this image of Neil we found (above).
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You’re an animal, Jess! Keep up the good work!
Congrats on your first competition!