Another Regional competition has come and gone and as we are driving back, I wanted to put some thoughts down in a blog post.
First of all, I can’t thank everyone enough for the crazy amount of support this weekend. I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and said how many pink shirts they saw in the crowd and how loud and crazy you guys were:) It’s impossible to describe how amazing you guys made me feel this weekend. To know that you guys made the drive all the way to Atlanta, crazy traffic and all, just to watch me exercise, means more than you know. People outside of the Vitality community will never understand how special our community is.
Thanks to Marty and Rachel AGAIN for driving us down in the RV and opening it up for me all weekend so I could hang out in A/C instead of on the floor of the convention center. Marty carted me all over the place, whenever I needed, all weekend long. It’s awesome to have this guy in my corner.
One of the most thankless jobs of the weekend definitely goes to Baity. He was with me the whole weekend, stretching me out while I was all sweaty and nasty post workout, taking notes on all the results of the heats that went before me. Hung out with me in the warm-up area as I warmed up 1,000 times over the weekend. He has been my training partner for almost 3 years and knows me probably as good as Jess. It was great to have him back there with me so my nerves never got the best of me. We have taken turns at Regionals over the years and I am sure if he decides to make another run at it, his turn will come up again shortly. One thing that is a certainty, there isn’t a more loyal training partner out there and there is no way I would have been as prepared for this weekend without him.
This year, the last thing that I had to worry about was my UC. Maryanna has made it her personal mission to cure me of this nonsense and she has done an amazing job over the past 9 months. I had no issues this weekend and it was because of the program we have followed for 264 days leading up to this weekend.
Another thankless job happens to be being married to me….Jess has spent the better part of the last 6 years watching me chase this dream of making it to The Games. No matter what the odds, or how bad an event goes, she is my biggest supporter. She has taken on so much for our family so that I am able to do what was necessary to prepare for this weekend. This weekend was our 10-year Anniversary. Most guys take their wives on elaborate vacations with gifts and pampering. What did Jess get? A 5 hour trip to Atlanta for the weekend where I went to bed at 8p every night and she waited on me hand and foot, making sure I had everything I needed. Lucky her right? A few years ago, she would ask me on the way home from Regionals if I was going to do it again. I would usually tell her probably not and then a few months later change my mind and make another run at it. This year, she didn’t waste her time asking…..she is getting wise in her old age as well:)
A huge thank you to my family. My Dad and his wife, my mom and sister, all made it down to watch me compete this year. I am sure they had 100 other things that made more sense than to stand in a over crowded room in pink shirts all weekend, but never the less, they were there for every event, all weekend long. It was good to be able to show them what it is I love doing and why it’s so important to me. As we all know, it is hard sometimes to explain what we do to those that don’t understand CrossFit. The best explanation most of the time, is watching it live. Barb and Karly also held down the fort with a 3-day competition of their own….keeping Charlee and Reagan occupied all weekend. I think it was a draw between that and Regionals as to which was more difficult.
I will wrap this up with some lessons learned from the weekend. Lucky for you guys, this will be short, I have been in this positions 5 times already so most of the lessons were more of a refresher for me than anything new…
The first thing is that controlling your emotions is vital to pretty much any goal you have. I watched so many athletes lose control of their emotions and 99% of the time, nothing good came out of it.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is healthy. No matter how many times I compete at Regionals, the calm before the storm, as we waited to run out onto the floor, that is a feeling nearly impossible to replicate. Being able to control and manage that is not easy but such a necessary skill-set to have in your toolbox.
Suffering can be a good thing. Too many people have excuses as to why they can’t push their bodies and test the limits of their capacity. This doesn’t need to be done often, but every once in a while, give it a shot and see what happens…you may be surprised by the outcome. Take the heart rate monitor off for a day and see how fast you can get that thing beating. A wise man once told me that I would pass out long before I would ever die. So far as I can tell, sounds like a very logical and rational thought process.
As I get older, I would like to think I have gotten wiser. This year was the least stressful by far. My desire to win hasn’t changed, my expectations have just been managed a little better. I refuse to allow this result to dampen the years of training and preparation that have gone into this journey. I see so many young kids getting into this sport and trying to compete at this level. I am not doing this for sponsorships or fame. I do it because I love competing and love training. Some of these kids get into it for the wrong reasons and it will never work.
The level of competition in this Sport is growing at a rate that I don’t think anyone expected. If you want a chance to go to The Games, most of us will have to be perfect. That means your entire lifestyle has to be perfect. Training partners, coaches, nutrition, recovery, sleep, etc. If you have one hole in your game, your done before you even show up to regionals. So many people make the mistake of thinking that Regional preparation is a 12-month process. That isn’t the case. For most, this process will be multiple years of consistent training. Not many truly want it that bad, that’s why only 50 make it out to LA, they have put in the work and have proven their consistency. Guys like me are now faced with the decision of what to do next. There won’t be much time for that decision as I can guarantee that a week from now, 1,000s of athletes will begin the preparation for the 2016 season.
Two things are for certain.
1. I am so lucky to be a part of the Vitality community.
2. These are my 2 favorite things in the world.
Oh, and one more thing…no one ever told me this in the Marine Corps but hugs from babies can cure just about anything and make you forget about how bad you may be at hand-stand pushups.