October 3rd, 2012

Coach John Competes

Over the past few weeks Coaches John and Ryan both took part in an on-line competition that was a very similar format to the Reebok CrossFit Open. Both had a great experience and ended up placing the top 10 in their age divisions. The culminating event for this competition was last weekend down in California. Both John and Ryan qualified to compete. Ryan was not able to go due to family obligations, but John made the trip and performed well finishing 9th out of the 20 finalists from an original group of about 50 in the on-line competition. I asked John to share some thoughts with us about his experience in competition in hopes that it would inspire some of you to start physically and mentally getting ready for the Open. He is a veteran CrossFitter, competitor and coach and has a lot to offer. Anyways, read below…

Last weekend I took part in my 3rd CrossFit competition, not counting the 2010 & 2011 CrossFit Open.  It was called the ‘Diamond of the Tough’.  It was a lot of fun during and after, but not so much right before.  As much as I enjoy competing in CrossFit competitions and workout with that as one of my primary goals, I get really nervous and anxious as I come closer and closer to an event.  I was wicked nervous before this one, as my wife Kandi can tell you.  But once they called my heat out and I was walking out to my position to start the first WOD, I instantly felt better and focused.  Kandi took a picture of me chatting with my judge right before the WOD started and it surprised me how happy I looked right then.  Like any WOD that I have stressed out over ahead of time, it felt really good to stop thinking and just starting doing!

Overall I had a great time and was very glad that I went and competed once again.  Like every CrossFit competition I have been to, it was a well-run event and a lot of fun.  CrossFit is the only sport that I have been involved in where 30 seconds before game time it is more than likely that the guys you will be competing with any second will turn to you and wish you good luck.  Honestly, that does not really happen very often anywhere else.

A competition is a great place to learn a lot about yourself.  After I was done with the competition, I took some time to reflect on some lesson learned and reminders of things I already know.

Compete with and against yourself first, everybody else second. 

Obviously, the goal in any competition is to go faster, do more reps or lift more weight than the man or woman next to you.  But just like when you do a WOD anywhere else, you can only control yourself.   If you give 100% to a workout and feel like you could not have done better, you win.  Finishing ahead of others is the icing on the cake.  If the workout in a competition was ‘Fran’ and I completed it in 2 minutes, I would not care how many people got a faster time than I did.  If you PR by 30 lbs. on your clean and jerk and someone else lifts 10 lbs. more, who cares!

Have a strategy going into workout. 

For each workout I did this weekend, and for almost all of the workouts I do in the gym, I have a plan going in.  Sometimes it is not 100% successful or sometimes I change it on the fly, but I have one to start.  Going into a CrossFit workout without some type of strategy is like driving somewhere you have never been before without checking a map first.  You may get there, but you also may end up hopelessly lost or it may take you twice as long to arrive at your destination.  If another athlete gives you advice always listen and giver their advice careful consideration!  But be smart and don’t throw out your own strategy if their tips or advice do not fit you, your capabilities or comfort level.

Relax and enjoy yourself – CrossFit is supposed to be fun!

I went into this competition telling myself that my mindset was going to be that I would do my best to do well and just have fun, that I would not take any one WOD too seriously or worry about my placement too much.  The goal was just to get out and compete again.  Easier said than done!!  Like I said before, I was really nervous before the first event precisely because I was worried way too much about it.  Once the first WOD was over, I was in a good place and started to have fun.  But this is something I still need to work on.  

Why you should do it.

In closing, I would just like to encourage all of you to take an opportunity to compete.  You would be surprised how much fun it is once it starts.  The competition does not have to be a high pressure situation like going to another gym and competing against other CrossFitters if you don’t feel ready for that.  It can be something as simple as signing up for a 5k run or challenging and fun like running a Tough Mudder.   Even better, enter in the CrossFit Open early next year and you can compete with tens of thousands of CrossFitters world-wide without even leaving our gym!

When you compete you learn a lot more about yourself and how hard you can push.  There are some exercises or movements that each of us find uncomfortable to push ourselves on (burpees anyone?), but having the extra incentive of knowing that you are really competing with someone else can be all you need to break down a few mental barriers and find the fortitude to get one more rep, hold on to the bar a little longer or row a little faster.  You can then take that mental toughness back to your day-to-day training and push yourself a little bit harder on every workout.

Three rounds for time of:
100 meter Walking lunge
Handstand walk 20 meters
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood

Post time to comments.

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19 Responses

  1. Thanks for the insights John! Great job!!!

    19:49 Rx’d

  2. I love the ohs picture. Look at his face. So calm. Focused. That is in the midst of a 3ish minute burner of a wod. That is an example of what John is talking about, playing your game, having a strategy and sticking to it. All of this keeps you from panicking. So you can just perform. Great job John!

  3. 23:26 sub’d Handstand practice by wall, tried to hold as long as I could 10 times, in retro a bit stupid since not a time/rep thing, probably the bear crawls would have been better. Lunges got unexpectedly tough.

    Good job on competing John, I always appreciate your comments and watching out for us while coaching.

  4. Great thoughts John, especially how our best way to compete is to focus on what we can do. Glad you had a successful weekend! You may have powered through the Bear complex but you’ll always be the Hulk to me!

    26:45/27:45-ish scaled
    (-ish = I forgot my last 5 wall climbs and did them after the timer stopped, had to guess time)
    Did 3 meters of HS walk and 5 wall climbs per round for HS walk. Think I had my most legitimate HS walk ever on the last round. Small steps/sets but actual steps! vs. what I did on the other rounds… Pathetically shuffling my hands while my legs were thrown up for a moment.

  5. 20:23
    Sub’d 50 hip extensions for walking handstand, due to elbow issue.

    Good job John… Way to represent!

  6. 19:29
    Bear crawls instead of HS walks
    I think Ellen and I did an extra 20 meters of lunges.

    Great job in the competition John!

  7. At work:
    Seven rounds for time.
    50 KB swings 15 reps
    95# power cleans 15 reps
    15 24″ box jumps
    27:20

  8. 23:36 sub’d HS walk by holding a HS against the wall. The KBS were harder than I expected. I was glad Annie was there with words of encouragement. 🙂 As long as I keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone I’ll keep improving.

    Way to Do Work John!!! I’m encouraged to hear someone as strong and skilled as you still gets nervous. There’s hope for me yet.

  9. 18:58 rx’ish

    More falling then walking on the handstands.

  10. 24:32. Did 4 wall climbs for the handstands.

  11. 23:40

    Lunges and KBS rx’d

    Subbed handstand walk practice for handstand walking. I actually got a couple of good runs of like 4 or 5 steps. Most of the time they just turned into nice handstands which would have been cool if I weren’t trying to walk.

  12. 23:00 Rx – working on HS walks is on my top todo list.

    Impressive effort by some of the CFS Girls today doing 1pood KB!

  13. 22:07 actually did free handstands now to get the walking down
    Thanks for coaching Annie

  14. I’m partial but my husband is awesome! 🙂 So proud of you John!

  15. […] Coach John told me to eat more sweet potatoes, and I’ve taken it to heart.  I’ve made them curly, mashed, used them as a bun, and today’s recipe has them whipped.  This is an easy delicious recipe I made for Thanksgiving.  You’ll notice the marshmallows– for those who don’t eat the way we do.  I found this recipe through Martha.  Try it, it’s easy and yummy! […]

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