the fittest on earth

The CrossFit Games is one of my favorite times of the year. The CF season is quite long- Hundreds of thousands of individuals from all over the entire world complete 5 different workouts over 5 weekends in the CF Open beginning in late February. The top athletes from 17 regions around the world move on to compete in a three day competition at regionals. From regionals, the top 40 men, women, and teams along with 80 teenagers and 240 masters move on to compete for 4 days at the CF Games. The CF Games are like the Olympics to CrossFitters. It is THE competition to determine who is the “Fittest on Earth”.

This year the Games were quite different. For the past 10 years, the Games have been held in Carson, California. This past year, CF headquarters announced there would be a new home for the Games for the next 3 years-Madison, Wisconsin. We had planned to skip this year, but with this news, Josh and I decided (along with a group of our friends from the gym) that we could more easily afford a trip up there to enjoy the long weekend. To save money, we drove up to Madison and rented a suite for all of us to share. We only bought Festival passes ($100) for the Games events this year also. Festival passes gave us access to the outside daytime events, as well as the masters and teenagers workouts. We were supposed to have access to the daytime Coliseum events as well, but for some reason that changed and we could only see the outside events. In past years, we’ve bought Festival+Coliseum passes which get you into the outside and inside events, but those tickets were starting at about $335 per ticket! We just couldn’t justify spending that with all the other vacations we have planned for the year.

No one in the group was able to head up on Wednesday, so we ended up leaving Thursday afternoon. Ashley picked Josh and I up, then we headed up to Columbus to pick up Jake and Leslie. The drive up was rather uneventful- unfortunately we timed it pretty poorly and ended up hitting after work rush hour traffic in Chicago and we got stuck behind a car accident which added about 45 minutes extra to our trip. Thankfully, though, we all packed food and drinks so we only had to make a couple stops for bathroom breaks and filling up the gas tank.

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Check out our awesome group of NoBulls!

We finally made it to Madison around 10 pm and checked into our hotel. I have no idea how we got so lucky, but the hotel I booked was fantastic. It was only about a 5 minute walk to Alliant Energy Center where the Games were being held- you could see the venue from our hotel room. Our suite had two queen beds and a pull out couch, so there was enough room for all of us to sleep comfortably. And the best part was that our room had a stove top with two burners, a microwave, and a full size fridge! It was so perfect because everyone in our group is doing the nutrition challenge with our gym, trying to eat healthy, and we were all trying to save money! After we got our stuff dropped off in the room, we drove over to Walmart to stock up on food for the weekend. We definitely didn’t eat the yummiest food (lunch meat, canned tuna, green beans, and steamer bags of broccoli and brussels sprouts), but it was quick, fairly inexpensive, and easy. You could tell the Games were being hosted close by, as I have never seen so many fit, healthy people walking around Walmart before! By the time we got back to our hotel room, our friend Joel had arrived! It had been almost 9 months since any of us had seen him and we were sooooo happy to be reunited with our Joelybear!

Friday morning we woke up bright and early to eat breakfast and watch the events for the day. The first three events happened on Thursday- there was a run/swim workout, a cyclocross bike workout, and a muscle-up/snatch workout. I wish we had been able to go up to watch those workouts in person, but they were still very exciting on Facebook Live videos. We ventured through vendor village on the way to North Park for the first event. Vendor village had a lot of great booths, but it seemed smaller this year than when it was in California. And unfortunately with us arriving on Friday instead of Thursday when it opened, a lot of vendors were already sold out! I couldn’t believe they didn’t have more inventory with the amount of people they knew would be coming to watch the Games. One of my favorites was the Saddleback Leather booth where we took selfies with a cow for a chance to win a free backpack (unfortunately none of us won, sad face). #StrongestBagsOnEarth

The first event on Friday was an outdoor obstacle course race. The weather was terrible! It was around 55°F, cloudy, windy, and slightly misting. Thank God we were all prepared and had packed long sleeves, sweat pants, and rain jackets or it would have been even more miserable. The obstacle course was pretty fun to see with log walks, a rope wall to climb, an army crawl, rope swings, hurdles, and more.

After we watched the teams and individuals complete the obstacle course, we headed back inside vendor village to walk around. The highlight of my weekend there was that I got free Kill Cliff drinks for wearing a Kill Cliff shirt. And Zevia was handing out free sparkling waters, energy drinks, and their soda! I definitely drank my weight in Kill Cliff and Zevia.      

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The remainder of our Friday was spent walking back and forth to the hotel to eat food and laying on the concrete floor in the beer garden to watch the Coliseum events. It was really quite disappointing to pay $100 and only be able to see one team/individual event live and have to watch the rest of the events on TV…which I could have stayed home and done on my comfy couch. We made the best of it though and had a big group snuggle party on the floor watching the team max clean and jerk event and the individual max snatch event. Hands down, the max lift events are my favorite every time! There is just something about seeing people pick up some really heavy weight and throw down, especially when they PR! There were some crazy strong people- one of the guys on a team (I wish I could remember which one) opened(yes, opened!) with a 347# clean and jerk…and went on to hit 367# and 377#! And a girl on another team was push jerking around 230#! Just so impressive. On the individual side, my favorite lifts were from Chyna Cho and Cassidy Lance-McWherter who both PR’ed their snatches and were just having so much fun! Even in the beer garden, you could hear the roar of excitement from the crowd with every lift made.     

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Saturday morning was much better weather for the outside event. It was sunny and in the low 70s, with a nice breeze. The team event involved a (I think it weighed around 1000 lbs or more) sled drag backwards and push forwards. The individual event, “Strongman’s Fear”, involved heavy yoke carries (420#/300#), farmer’s carries (170#/120#), and sled drags (265#/220#) with handstand walking in between the carries. It looked really hard, but was really fun to watch.

          

After those events were done, we walked around vendor village some. I met Nicole Biscuiti (founder of the Chestee sports bras), taught Jake how to take a selfie, and of course I stocked up on Kill Cliff and Zevia!

 

We ate lunch back at the room and then came back and watched the bar muscle-up clean ladder event from the roof of the RomWod booth. This event was awesome- the weight of the cleans increased throughout the workout and a lot of people PR’ed at the end of the ladder! I can’t imagine PR’ing at the Games, let after so many events over that past few days.  

We also spent a lot of time at the Assault Fitness booth trying out all their equipment and their NormaTec systems. I’ve got to say, the NormaTec leg system was super relaxing and I wouldn’t mind having one of those at home…if I can just find an extra $1500 laying around first lol.

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Sunday was the final day of the Games. It was a little cloudy outside, but the temperature was great and we were able to get pretty decent seats to watch the “Madison Triplet” event (it involved running, sandbag cleans, and burpees over straw bales…only in the Midwest, am I right?). We ate a quick lunch at our hotel room, goofed around in vendor village for a bit, then headed to the age group pavilion to watch the final master’s events. The master’s group ranges from 35 to 60+ years old. And they. are. amazing. The event we watched was Diane+Final (Diane is handstand push-ups and deadlifts, while the final event was rope climbs and thrusters). There were several athletes in the 50-54 age group that beat the times of the 35-39 year olds! It was such an inspiration to watch. And they’re all super ripped and have abs! There’s hope for me yet, you guys, just give me another 20 years!

We watched the 2223 interval event (rope climbs, calories on the SkiErg, and overhead squats) at the Assault Fitness booth. While we were hanging out we just happened to look across the way to see Nick Shaw! Nick is the founder of RP Strength, the diet and hypertrophy templates Josh and I follow. We had to go over and talk to him, of course. We wouldn’t be where we are today with our nutrition and training without him.

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We ended our Games weekend eating dinner in the room and watching the final event on our phones through Facebook Live. The final event was so exhilarating and quick and a race to the finish. I absolutely loved it! It was super neat to watch when the winners were announced and how emotional it all was for them- they invest so much time and sacrifice so much to compete at the Games and it’s over in the blink of an eye. While this year’s Games wasn’t entirely what I expected from a spectator experience, it was definitely fun and full of laughs. The Games will be held in Madison for at least the next two years and if we happen to go back, we’re going to splurge and spend the couple extra hundred dollars for the Coliseum passes for sure. If you go, make sure you get the Festival+Coliseum passes too!

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Don’t let that face fool you, he definitely missed me!

home of the free because of the brave

Friday evening was pretty much the best ever! How could it not be when it started with me goofing around at the gym and hitting a strict bar muscle-up?! Coach Jeff and I were playing around on the rig and I asked if he could do a strict bar muscle-up and I told him I was close (just being a smarty pants lol). He got soooo close so many times, but couldn’t quite get it. I pulled myself up really high almost getting one and surprised us all, so I had to make another attempt. I switched my grip on the bar and tried again and got one! Of course, everyone was chatting and not paying attention, so no one saw it (face palm). Good thing I video’ed it on the magical chance I would get one! I probably won’t be able to get another one for a really long time, but I was super pumped to get one in the first place…and I can’t lie, it made me feel kind of good because Josh hasn’t gotten one yet and he can do all kinds of things that I can’t! Love you, babe! 😉

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Saturday was like any other Saturday for us. We hit the gym for our Hypertrophy lifting, mobility class (full of extra laughs and story time revolving around all the fun things children say), and got a great team workout in. The workout included rowing, goblet squats, and bar muscle-ups. I was able to get 3 bar MU in all five rounds (15 total) which is a workout PR for me! Slowly and surely, I’m building up my strength and courage to continue improving. It wasn’t that long ago (about 5 months) that I couldn’t even do 1 bar muscle-up and this weekend I got 15! It’s very rewarding to put in all the time and effort, work on drills and progressions, and see all the hard work start paying off. After class, Josh stayed to teach his nutrition class and I headed home to do laundry and meal prep…I know you’re shocked by this! There’s just something about having all the clean laundry folded and put away and all our meals prepped in the fridge for the week- it just gives me a sense of accomplishment and order. Josh is the best and takes care of all the yardwork. I can’t stand mowing or weed eating, so he kindly handles the outdoor stuff while I handle all the indoor stuff. We spent the evening catching up on all the CF Regionals events for the Pacific, California, and Central regions, then rented “Hidden Figures”. I very much enjoyed the movie. What a time it must have been to live in back during the 1960s- rushing to be the first country into space, fear of the Russians taking over and bombing the US, sexism and racial segregation prominent in the workplace and in the community. The movie was a behind the scenes look at the Space Race, following the lives of three African American women mathematicians who helped launch John Glenn into space, making him the first American to orbit the Earth. There was anger, laughter, frustration, excitement, romance- all the things that make a movie great for me. Definitely check it out if you have a chance.

We started off Sunday morning at church, singing, worshipping, and continuing our multi-week study on prayer. After church, we headed to Josh’s grandparents to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day and his grandma and cousin’s birthdays. At Mamaw’s, you’re always guaranteed tons of food and Sunday was no exception. We had hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad, and a veggie tray. We brought Rocko with us (he loves Mamaw’s house because she gives him all kinds of treats) and I mentioned how much he loves hot dogs. Mamaw pulled an entire hot dog to the side and cut it up into little pieces just for him. Talk about spoiled! Kena made the yummiest homemade vanilla ice cream and a cookies and cream cake decorated like a race track.  

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After lunch and 2 servings of cake and ice cream (I can’t stop myself when it comes to Kena’s cake), I fell asleep in my “nap chair” while the rest of the family played a card game and watched TV. When the card game was finished, we gathered around to watch Mamaw, Colin, and Teresa open their gifts and spend some time chatting and catching up. We headed home after a while and finished watching the CF Regionals events. This weekend was crazy at regionals. There were several injuries (pec injuries from high intensity/high volume ring dips and muscle ups) and a definite shake-up on the leaderboards across the regions- people I thought wouldn’t make it to the Games did and people I thought would make it didn’t. Which is part of what makes watching Regionals so fun…you never know what to expect!   

Monday was Memorial Day, a day we celebrate, honor, and remember all who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. While I have family members and friends who have served or are currently serving, I have been so lucky to not lose anyone in the line of duty. There are so many people though who have lost loved ones and I know “thank you” will never be enough and that our debt to everyone who serves can never be repaid. I am proud to be a member of a gym that does our best to honor the fallen by participating in a special workout, “Murph”, on Memorial Day. Murph is a workout done in honor of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. The workout was originally called “Body Armor” and was one of his favorites. The workout is 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, 1 mile run with a 20 pound vest if you have one. By coming together and suffering through this workout, we hope to pay tribute to Lieutenant Murphy and all that have laid down their lives for us.

After everyone finished the workout, we headed over to Angie’s for a cookout and pool party. Angie and her family are so gracious to let us come over and enjoy their beautiful house and the most perfect backyard oasis ever! Angie had brats, pulled pork, and beef brisket  for us and everyone brought side dishes and dessert to share. We ate lots of yummy food, lounged in the pool and hot tub, and laughed a whole lot! The weather was amazing- the bright sun shining down and big fluffy clouds rolling by with a nice breeze. A group of the adults got together and played a game of volleyball (with some hilarious sideline commentary by the ever energetic Carter) in the backyard for a bit, while the kids jumped on the trampoline and did flips off the water fountain into the pool. So much fun was had! I can’t wait for our next gym pool party and spending time with some of the best people I know!

 

Fiestas & Family

Fiesta like there’s no mañana! There couldn’t have been a better theme for this Cinco de Mayo weekend. It was packed full with a Cinco de Nacho community workout at the gym Friday night, Cinco de Drinko game night at Ethan’s casa Saturday, and Cinco de mi Momma’s birthday Sunday. Ok, so maybe that last one was made up. Doesn’t matter. The weekend was awesome, the end (How adorable is our little monster?!).

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Friday was Cinco de Mayo. It also happened to be the first Friday of the month, which is when CF Ripcord hosts a free community wod and pitch-in. We host this in hopes of getting our name out into the community and bringing in new people that are maybe cautious about trying CrossFit for the first time, but also for all our current members to get together for fitness, fellowship, and tasty food. It was quite possibly my favorite community wod we’ve hosted thus far, in large part because my bestie, Des, and her hubby, Chris, surprised me and came up to workout with us. I don’t get to see her very often, so any time together is much cherished. We had a fun team relay workout set up involving a rower/assault bike, GHD sit-ups, dumbbell snatches, air squats, and handstand walks. One of my favorite aspects of CF is that absolutely anything and everything is scalable, which means that any movement can be scaled back or modified. Not every person who walks into the gym has touched a barbell before or is capable of doing a pull-up or bar muscle up, etc. There are several different progressions and skills that can be done until that person feels comfortable and can perform the prescribed movement with proper technique. I am unable to do handstand walks (upside down and walking on your hands…are you kidding me, that’s scary! The fear factor there may or may not be why I still don’t have a handstand walk lolol) at this time, so I did bear crawls instead. Some people had never been on a GHD so they did abmat sit-ups instead. No matter what version of the movements was being done, people were pushing themselves and working hard. It’s such an experience being surrounded by friends working through a tough workout together. After the workout, we had a Cinco de Nacho nacho bar complete with chips, homemade salsa and guacamole, chicken/turkey/beef, queso, and all the other toppings you could want. Don’t think we didn’t have some delicious desserts to share too- homemade white chocolate macadamia nut and chocolate chip peanut butter cookies as big as your face and moist pumpkin white chocolate chip cookies being my favorites. As much as I love the workout part of our community nights, the time spent sitting cross-legged on the gym floor in a giant circle talking and eating with everyone tops it all.

Saturday was the last day of our deload week on this cycle of our RP Hypertrophy templates. I’m very much ready to get back into the swing of things and do regular CF class on top of our accessory stuff, although I must say it has been kind of nice getting home “early” every evening and having more time to just chill together. We got our lifting in then jumped into the mobility class lead by Ryan. I love that class! I never realize how tight or sore I am from a week of lifting and CF until Ryan starts leading us through different stretches. Swole and flexy, people, you can’t have one without the other. When we got home, we started right to meal prepping for the upcoming week- pork loin, broccoli, green beans, and veggie “chili”. We’ve got our routine down pat now after meal prepping for ~18 months with RP. I portion out all the meat while Josh cooks up the veggie chili. Once the chili is done, I portion that out into as many meals as possible, then fill in the remaining meals with green beans and broccoli. Voilà! It’s as simple as that. We had plans to go to a taco party/game night later, so I made some seven layer dip while Josh whipped up a batch of scrumptious Berries & Cream cupcakes from Life, Love, and Sugar’s blog (PS she has the cutest blog with the best sweet treats, please do yourself a favor and go check it out). These moist vanilla cupcakes with a whipped almond filling and a mixed berry frosting are definitely at the top of my favorites list now.  

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After all the food prep, we got in some lazy time, catching up on TV and cat-napping before heading up to Ethan’s. We loaded our plates up with cecina tacos, Bailey’s cookie balls (Steve has really been holding out on us with his whole “I don’t know how to cook/bake”persona because these cookie balls were great), seven layer dip, cupcakes, and margaritas before heading out to the backyard for some friendly games of cornhole. Poor Jess and Jake had to carry me every round because I was lucky if my bean bag even grazed the board. We got a lot of good laughs about mine and Steve’s attempts at throwing though. Note to self: telling Steve to give the bag a little arc results in the bean bag being thrown straight up into the air and not getting anywhere near the board. When it got too chilly, we headed inside to play Joking Hazard, which is a super fun game where you build your own three-panel comic strip from a deck of cards. Super inappropriate and hilarious for sure. My favorite part of the night was the Jenga game Dell brought. It was just regular Jenga but she had written different “cues” on each block, such as “thumb master” where everyone had to put their thumb on the table when the thumb master did and the last person to do so had to drink. Or cues where the shortest or tallest person had to take a drink. There were so many good ones, I definitely can’t wait to play again. There really is nothing better than a night of games, storytelling, and laughing until your stomach hurts with truly great friends. And hanging out with Bear, of course. 

Sunday morning was spent at church singing praise songs and beginning a new study on prayer. The sermon was a great reminder that God is with us no matter what and there is nothing too big or too small for Him to handle, you just have to ask. Sunday was my mom’s birthday, so after church we met my parents at El Nopal for lunch to celebrate. And really, why not have Mexican food for the third day in a row? There is no such things as too many tacos. We caught up about all the gossip and family matters and it was just nice to have a relaxing lunch together. We came home to finish up all the fun adulting stuff like laundry and tidying up the house. A few weeks ago, Josh had made homemade dog treats and they were such a big hit he decided to make more. We recently got the cutest little bone shaped cookie cutter from a friend and couldn’t wait to use it for these treats. We headed over to my parents house to share the delicious cupcakes Josh had made on Saturday. My mom loves cupcakes, so it was the perfect treat to take for her birthday. It wasn’t long after we got there that we all had to scarf one down. There really was no eating it slow and savoring it, it was just too darn good! Ariel and Rocko got to try the bone shaped treats, so they didn’t feel left out. Somehow the weather was picture perfect (we’ve had like a solid week of rain and gloom and flooding)- fluffy clouds dotting the bright blue sky with the sun shining down, so we sat out on my parents’ back patio and soaked it all in. I can’t wait to have a finished backyard like theirs someday, so we can just relax and enjoy the outdoors whenever we want. Now onto a new Monday, new week, new goals!  

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