Difficulty

Moderate. It doesn’t last long but your body won’t know that. Even scaled wallballs take a toll on your legs in a hurry.

Equipment

Wallball, high ceiling, jump rope and barbell – so not really at “at home” workout

}

Time

14 minutes of work for reps, but in partners, so you get some small breaks

So nice, we did it twice

Wow. The energy in the room was even more electric that last time. First, if you didn’t read my post about night 1 of the Crosstown Showdown between Rocky Lake Crossfit (my home away from home) and Crossfit Bardown, I encourage you to go read that one before continuing on.

Done? Ok let’s keep going.

My second experience with “competition” was even more fun. The nerves were still there but different. More anxious to get started than anxious to actually DO the workout. I arrived unnecessarily early for starters. That didn’t help matters. About ten people were there when I arrived, most from Bardown but everyone had smiles on their faces and were eager to say hi. I went in and shook hands with Brian, the owner of Bardown, as soon as I spotted him. As always, he was very friendly and remembered meting me at the first night of the Showdown. Now of course he know that I also help cheerlead the event on Facebook, so he’s undoubtedly seen the many posts I made on the event posting, and on the Rocky Lake and Bardown Facebook pages encouraging athletes and spectators from both boxes to come out tonight. I had also posted the Google spreadsheet for athletes to add their names so we knew who was participating from each box as the event drew closer.

As more of the athletes and spectators arrived, the energy levels does dramatically. All the partners started warming up, doing last minute checks on their strategy for breaking up the work. Brian got everyone together and reviewed the standards of movement. The only surprise to speak of was the required 50/50 split of the work in the wallballs and skipping. Last time, it was a partner total for each movement and you could split according to strengths and weaknesses. This levelled the playing field. Fortunately Tony and I had already decided that an even split made sense as our feeling once we saw the workout posted a few days earlier was there there were no discernible advantages either of us held in the 3 movements. I don’t imagine too many other partners came into it expecting to split it differently unless compensating for an injury. When the workout was first announced, scaling of the double unders to singles was not immediately known, and so Tony and I thought at first we’d be force to do the scaled workout because neither of us has mastered doubles. And that bummed us out because the rest of the scaled workout seems much too light for us. But we’re team players so we decided if that was how it had to be, we’d do the 20lb wallballs and 95lb cleans anyway but be counted in the scaled division. Fortunately within a matter of hours, Brian posted that any division could scale the doubles to singles as log as both partners still did equal work. So we were all set.

Tony and I went back and forth on strategy. Since the wallballs had to be an even split, doing 10s or 20s would have left us with a final set to split up. So we decided that we would add 5 each to our starting sets and then evenly split the remainder. We thought we would get started with a couple sets of 20 each and then go to 10s. And for the skipping, we figured sets of 30 would work – giving us a good progression towards the total and a decent recovery period for the partner not skipping. And finally once we got to the cleans, we figured sets of 10 made sense, and we could signal each other in and out if need be – both of us recognizing that after 2 rounds of wallballs, that 95lb bar wouldn’t seem so light.

Some more athletes were still arriving at our designated start time of 7:30 – a carryover confusion due to the start time of the first Showdown being 8pm. So we took the time to get organized, decide on the participants in the first heat and get them into their lanes to set up as they desired. As the “keeper” of the little Google spreadsheet with the list of participants, Brian and I quickly went over the list to confirm who was there and ready to go and looked to split the lanes down to include some Rocky Lake and some Bardown athletes in each heat. We had 5 lanes to fill. So in the first heat, we had 3 lanes of Rocky Lake and 2 lanes of Bardown athletes ready to go. They were called up and given a 5 minute warning to get set up.

PJ from Rocky Lake grabbed a crow’s nest position to he could broadcast the jet live on Facebook. In a minute he was up and running and counting down the start of the heat for the Facebook audience.

The WOD

Scale

150 wallballs 14/10
180 single unders

Repeat for 12 minutes.
Then for 2 minutes
Max reps hang power clean 45/35

Rx

150 wallballs, 20/14
90 DUs or 180 SUs

Repeat for 12 minutes.
Then for 2 minutes,
Max reps power clean 95/65

Rx+

150 wall balls, 20/14 min 25 unbroken
90 DUs or 180 SUs

Repeat for 12 minutes.
Then for 2 minutes,
Max reps power clean 135/95

The first heat really set the bar. Strong performances in all 5 lanes with very little time separating them as they finished the 150 wallballs. Tommy and Joanne Henneberry (the couple from Krypton, as I think of them), were first to the jump rope stage followed closely by Kirsten and Krystal, also from Rocky Lake. The other three lanes were soon into their jump rope stage as well. The crowd was cheering them all on!

The second round of wallballs got underway in short order and it was apparent every lane was feeling them. The pace just slightly slower and the throws more deliberate. I didn’t keep track of how many teams got through the full second set and onto the skipping – it may have only been a couple. But those that didn’t get to them were surely not far from finishing the wallballs as the countdown was given on 12 minutes to switch to cleans. Every team performed cleans with vigor. I didn’t see any team pause at all. The partners went about their task sharply, trading back and forth and machining away at getting as many reps as possible. It was an impressive display, and, as it happened, educational.

Last time, Tony and I were among the athletes in the first heat. Beneficial in the sense that our nerves couldn’t get the better of us any more than they already were. But you can learn a lot by watching other athletes you admire and aspire to emulate too – so the 5 teams that went first taught Tony and I a lot about the pacing that would be needed. We had to talk strategy again.

There was a brief break after the first heat to allow Brian and I to calm out the next set of athletes and for the lanes to be ready and then set up by the next teams. As before they were given about 5 minutes to prepare.

Another 5 pairs of athletes were given the one minute warning, once again with a split of Bardown and Rocky Lake competitors repping their boxes. When the final seconds were counted down, they all exploded off the start with some really fast wall balls. Kenny, an athlete from Rocky Lake, avoided any chance of a no-rep getting called by putting the ball well above – astonishingly above – the 10 foot mark on the wall. His throws looked effortless – really something to see.

Several of the Bardown athletes were out of the gate strong as well. This round was every bit as exciting as the first.

A special mention is worthwhile here – A husband and wife team of cross fitters from Bardown, Alex and Kate MacAuley, also happen to be pro photographers in their day job, so both were floating around snapping away getting some amazing shots that they were kind enough to share on the event page and most have been shared extensively on Facebook as of now!

As the teams took to the jump rope portion, many got there at roughly the same time again. The skipping was over quickly with many in this heat doing doubles rather than singles, and back to the wall balls they went.

A few teams in this heat were going for Rx+, which meant a substantial number of wall balls unbroken before switching to the other partner. It also meant that once they got to the cleans at the 12 minute mark, they’d have to have some gas left in the tank because they were lifting quite a bit heavier too.

Through the second set of wall balls, all the teams looked quite strong, and a couple got back to the jump rope before the 12 minutes were up. Then the cleans began, and every team seems to get an average of one every at least every 6 seconds or less.

The two minutes were up and the teams celebrated their finishes, high fives all around.

No video for round 3. Why? Well because our videographer for round 1 & 2 was also a competitor! And he was in round three competing alongside his wife a couple of lanes over from Tony and I.

Five minutes to go and heat three would get underway. Tony and I were up, along with two other teams from Rocky Lake and one team from Bardown. While heat 2 was underway, Tony and I adjusted our strategy slightly based on what we saw. We decided to avoid being too aggressive on the wall balls and adjust our sets down to 15 for our first set each, then ten each from that point on. We kept our plan for the skipping at 30 a piece and for the cleans, still planning on 10 each until we decided otherwise as we went. We even talked about where we would stand relative to one another so we could easily move into position to resume where the other left off.

At the one minute mark, we got into position. Tony would go first – our thinking was that he would get on the barbell first – of course we factor in that we might not get to a nice even finish at the end of a set.

The countdown started and Tony got us rolling, smoothly wracking through the first 15 wall balls. He let the last one drop so he could step to the side and I could walk straight toward the wall to pick up where he left off. I was pleasantly surprise to realize that the drop from the 10 foot height resulted in a bounce of almost high enough to be a starting position from a squat. I realized it a bit too late on the first one but made sure that when I picked up after Tony the next time, I’d move in a bit faster so I could take advantage of the transition time that saved. Seconds were seconds after all.

The balance of the wall balls went smoothly. I was feeling tired but OK generally. A little more winded than I expected, but with the crowd and the partner behind you egging you on, you can’t help but be a little amped up and that takes as much energy out of you as it managed to infuse you with at the same time.

We hit the jump rope portion and I managed to trip myself twice times in my first 30 reps. Frustrating. Tony too got caught up during his first set. I settled into a nice rhythm on the next set, slowing my revolutions down slightly and making an easier hop to get over each. That did the trick. We both finished the rest smoothly.

Then back to the wall. We again did 15 to start each, then settled into 10s. This time through, they were adding up on me more quickly. I could feel the energy draining as the 10 throws Tony was making didn’t give me quite enough time to recover for my set to follow. i powered through the first several, but I know it would catch up with me. Tony could tell and suggested we switch to 5s. I agreed immediately. We had talked about it, but didn’t think we’d need it. Boy did I ever need it. That helped get us very close to the end. As the time was about to expire, and I was once again feeling the recovery time simply not add up, I told Tony to keep going for the last few reps and I would start on the bar.

At 12 minutes, I grabbed the bar right away. Despite how gassed I had been on the wall balls, I actually felt pretty good on the cleans. Right away I felt out the pace that I could sustain and went through the first 10 reps, dropped the bar and let Tony come in. He makes the damn thing look like a toy. Up down up down. No problem. His ten went more quickly than mine had. So I grab the bar again. I bail after 8 or so – I lost count. Tony picks it up and cracks off what I think was another 10. I pick it up again, do another 6 or so. Tony grabs it again and I look at the time. Maybe 10 seconds left. We won’t have a transition, he’ll finish it off. So I should at him to keep going. He gets 2 more in the last 3 seconds. A machine.

Tony and Jean at Crosstown Showdown Night 2

I should mention, Tony’s been pretty devoted to his fitness over the last month in particular – it started a bit before the last Showdown night. He has a birthday coming up and made a commitment to himself to get below a certain weight by then. And our coach Shane has been guiding him on nutrition, caloric targets for workouts, adjusting his metabolism and more. And Tony even started a Facebook messenger group of a bunch of the Rocky Lake members who are not only monitoring his progress, but jumping in with meal ideas, advice, encouragement and more. If you ever hear about the Crossfit community, this is a shining example of what that really means. And Tony has made substantial progress towards his goal. And he’s the first to volunteer when he’s finding it hard, missed a target – he’s open about it. And the community in turn encourages him further.

The time expires and we both all but collapse with exhaustion – but not without a high five and a smile to each other and to the other athletes around us. This was a great 14 minutes of work.

Now Tony and I only had one goal that we expressed specifically – other than not die – and it was to try our best to get to the end of the second round of wall balls. Well, we came within 4.

The scoresheets were all handed in and while Brian and his team started doing the math on who got what number of reps and checking who was in what division, etc. the rest of us milled around and swapped stories about how the workout went. What was hard, what it felt like, when we thought we couldn’t go on – the usual fare for a post-WOD chat.

The scoresheet for Tony and I

When the dust settled, the winners of the various divisions were announced. I’m sure both Tony and I wore the surprise on our respective faces when Brian read out that Jean and Tony had gotten the most reps in the men’s Rx division. I figured we had done just fine to come so close to what we talked about as our goal. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that we had actually scored the most reps, especially after seeing the two rounds completed before us. Amazing!

We compared notes with some of the other teams and sure enough, they were right on our heels. We had just barely edged out a couple of the other teams on reps, largely, it seemed, on the basis of our cleans in the final two minutes.

Photo credit: Alex MacAuley

And so for the past day on Facebook, it’s been a lot of participants, spectators and our fellow box members high giving us in the virtual world as well. It was a really fun, fundamentally community-oriented event that brought two boxes together to something special that we all clearly enjoy. Official competition? No. But a great preparation for official competition? I hope so. Because it’s an experience that has got me eager to try it. And I could not have anticipated that a few short weeks ago.

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